Cocoa replacer firm hit by shea nut shortage
undeterred by a shortfall in raw materials which failed to dent
The group, who supply fats, oil and cocoa products to the food and cosmetic industries, announced interim results last week showing net sales of SEK7,872m (€869m) and profit after tax of SEK119m (€13m) for the January to September period.
AAK is on the verge of extending its cocoa butter replacement business with a SEK150m (€16.6m) investment expected to increase capacity by 2007/2008.
But for the year ending September, the firm said shortages in shea nuts had harmed volumes of cocoa alternatives at a time when market demand was high.
Company president Jerker Hartwall said: "Growth within the important cocoa butter equivalents (CBE) has been hampered during the year due to the shortage of shea nuts which are one of the principal raw materials.
"CBE volumes have therefore not increased after three quarters in relation to last year despite continued positive trends in the total market demand."
However company profits were bolstered by those collected last year from subcontracted processing within the chocolate and confectionery fats business which took SEK60m (€6.6m) for the full year and SEK15m (€1.6m) for the third quarter.
AarhusKarlshamn recently increased its foothold in the UK with the acquisition of the wet food division of snack and sauce manufacturer Lion Food in a deal worth £2.5m (€3.7m) - £3m (€4.4m)