Lindt & Sprüngli has announced a sales increase by 5.5% in Swiss francs to reach CHF4.313 billion ($4.29bn) in 2018.
The company said organic sales growth amounted to +5.1%, within its set target range and Lindt said it has expanded its market share in all countries.
Group operating profit (EBIT) rose by +6.9% to CHF 636.7 million. The EBIT margin also improved again to 14.8%. Net income thus increased by +7.6% to CHF 487.1 million, providing a return on sales of 11.3%.
Europe remains Lindt’s most important region, contributing almost half of group sales. Overall organic growth in the European markets was a very solid +5.6%. The group also managed to increase its share of all the mostly saturated European markets, generating higher than average growth. Sales performance was particularly strong in the UK, Germany, Austria, and Spain, while growth in the European subsidiaries managed to climb into the double digits, the company revealed.
In the North America region, where markets are exposed to flat growth and price pressure, organic sales growth amounted to +2.8%. One highlight in the region was a double-digit growth realized by in Canada.
Lindt USA and Ghirardelli also achieved positive sales growth and outperformed the overall market - Russell Stover reported a slight decline, but recovered slightly at Christmas, the company said.
The company’s new sugar-free chocolate line with stevia extract performed well and extended its market share in this segment and the company announced another re-launch is planned for 2019, this time with the top-selling line of assorted pralines.
Lindt & Sprüngli Group – Key figures at a glance
- Group sales up +5.5% to CHF 4.313bn (+5.1% organic growth)
- Operating profit (EBIT) up +6.9% to CHF 636.7m; EBIT margin 14.8% (+20bp)
- Net income up +7.6 % to CHF 487.1m; return on sales 11.3% (2017: 11.1%)
- Dividend increased by +7.5% to CHF 1,000 per registered share, CHF 100 / PC
- Operating cash flow CHF 651,6m; +10.3%
Lindt said the new and very fresh design has already been presented to retailers and feedback has been very positive.
New logistics centers opened in California, Georgia, and Texas, creating the capacities and synergies in the supply chain for our brands, Lindt, Ghirardelli, and Russell Stover. With these three brands, the Lindt said it maintains its position as ‘number one in the premium segment and number three in the US chocolate market’.
Lindt said it achieved over 80 million visitors in its 460 outlets worldwide and countries in the rest of the world experienced strong growth ‘and their development is extremely promising,’ said the company.