Barry Callebaut Group has announced in its annual report that net profit for the year to 31 August rose by 20.4% to CHF 384.5m ($421.60m), ahead of analysts forecast for CHF378.2m.
In a media and analysts conference call from its Zurich headquarters, the Group said sales volumes increased by 4.6% to 2,191,572 tonnes and revenue reached CHF 7.208bn francs, also beating market forecasts. It confirmed its mid-term guidance and raised its dividend.
Barry Callebaut’s chocolate business surpassed the pre-COVID levels of 2018-19 and with a volume growth of +6.5% clearly outpaced the underlying global chocolate confectionery market (+1.8%). It said volume growth was supported by all regions (Asia Pacific +8.7%, Americas +7.9%, EMEA +5.5%) and all key growth drivers, outsourcing (+4.5%), emerging markets (+9.7%) and a particularly strong performance of its Gourmet & Specialties division, which increased by +18.3%, after a recovery in its restaurant business in Europe resulting in 3,000 new customers in the past 12 months.
Although Peter Boone, CEO of the Barry Callebaut Group, said it is still operating in a “volatile market," it would continue to focus on “smart growth” as a long-term strategy execution “with a focus on returns and cash generation,” he said.
The Group has also benefited from consumers returning to cafes and bakeries for chocolate treats as COVID-19 restrictions lifted across Europe, while it continues to supply big food companies with its premium Belgian chocolate.
Boone said plant-based alternatives is a big segment– and "a segment here to stay”. He said the pandemic has accelerated consumer interest in their own health – and the health of the environment, what he calls, ‘mindful indulgence’.
The Group opened the first fully segregated dairy-free production facility in Norderstedt, Germany, and has expanded its range of plant-based indulgence for special dietary requirements, such as chocolate certified 'Halal' or 'Kosher Badatz'.
Boone also said he expected improving demand for cocoa to lead to a more balanced situation in the current fiscal year. In 2021, cocoa bean prices fell by 7% due to a large cocoa bean surplus of approximately 100,000 tonnes.
In the past 12 months cocoa bean prices have fluctuated between £1,607 ($2,200) and £1,869 ($2,500) per metric tonne on ICE Futures Europe (London) and ICE Futures US (New York) and closed at £1,664.67/$2,448.33 per metric tonne on 9 November, 2021.
“As we get out of the pandemic, we’ll see traditional distribution channels come back strongly and that will further help us to grow and accelerate the performance,” Boone, told reporters on a call.
“By leveraging our global footprint, industry-best innovation, cost leadership, and impactful sustainability solutions, we are on track to accelerate up the value ladder. This makes us confident we will deliver on our mid-term guidance.”
Key Strategic milestones
Hershey and Barry Callebaut extended their strategic supply agreement in September 2021, under which Barry Callebaut will continue to supply Hershey’s North American business with chocolate products. The renewed agreement will enable Barry Callebaut to continue its strategic, long-term growth in North America, it said.
In the same month, Barry Callebaut completed the acquisition of Europe Chocolate Company (ECC), a privately-owned Belgian B2B manufacturer of chocolate specialties and decorations.
Barry Callebaut’s on-going innovation programme around cacaofruit saw the introduction of ‘Elix’, the first nutraceutical fruit drink with accompanying health claim related to the naturally present cacaofruit flavanols and their effect on circulatory health, which is approved under EU regulation.
Barry Callebaut is due to release its sustainability report, Forever Chocolate, in December and was recognised by Sustainalytics for the third consecutive year as an industry leader in managing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) risks in its chocolate supply chain.
Barry Callebaut is also celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. In 1996, Klaus Jacobs merged the Belgian chocolate maker Callebaut and the French chocolate maker Cacao Barry into Barry Callebaut, which now employs 12,500 employees worldwide.
“In 2020-21, we have returned to our healthy growth path, with good profitability and strongc ash flow generation. Growth outpaced the underlying markets, with all regions and key growth drivers contributing to the good results. I want to thank all colleagues at Barry Callebaut for these results. They are living our corporate values and are the foundation of our success in the past 25 years," said Boone.
- Former CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique has been proposed as a new member of the Board of Directors. Boone took over from de Saint-Affrique in September 2021.