Petra’s overall sales in Q1 were down 7% compared to the same quarter last year to US $402m, but profit climbed 13.5% to $34.5m driven by branded consumer sales.
The company’s branded consumer division upped sales 9.5% to US $120.4m. However, sales in its cocoa ingredients arm dropped 12.7% to $282.2m.
Petra attributed the decline to falling cocoa bean prices.
Petra CEO John Chuang said: “Although the Cocoa Ingredients started the year on a positive note, the industry and market is facing headwinds in the form of pricing pressure as a result of the excess supply situation.”
“If the situation persists, the financial performance of our Cocoa Ingredients Division in 2012 is expected to be significantly lower than that achieved in 2011.”
From January to April, cocoa prices have fallen around 2% from $2307.62 per tonne to $2266.78, according to figures from the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO).
Petra plans to up its direct sourcing initiatives in key origin countries to minimise supply risk.
“Through our SEEDS programme, we currently have direct sourcing projects in Ivory Coast, Indonesia and Brazil; and will look to expand further coverage,” said the firm.
It hopes this will drive cost benefits from the supply chain and secure supply of higher quality cocoa beans.
Petra supplies cocoa ingredients through its Delfi brand. Its customers include major chocolate manufacturers such as Nestle, Cadbury/Kraft, Barry Callebaut and Meiji.
It has seven cocoa processing facilities located in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico and Germany as well as a cocoa butter factory in France and two chocolate production sites in Indonesia and the Philippines.