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ZURICH, April 11 (Reuters) - Switzerland’s Barry Callebaut said sales volume growth accelerated to 3.1 percent in the three months to Feb. 28, helping first-half net profit grow 15.1 percent to 199.1 million Swiss francs ($198.7 million).
Net profit was expected at 197 million francs in an Infront Data poll.
“We have good visibility in our portfolio and expect a further acceleration in sales momentum. This makes us confident we can deliver on our current mid-term guidance,” Chief Executive Antoine de Saint-Affrique said.
The company’s forecast for the three-year period from 2019/20 to 2021/22 is to generate on average 4–6 percent volume growth and EBIT above volume growth in local currencies, barring any major unforeseen events.
Sales volumes increased by 2.4 percent to 1.05 million tonnes in the six months to Feb. 28, in line with the poll average.
Chocolate makers are grappling with sluggish global demand as many consumers prefer healthier snacks, but Barry Callebaut is benefiting from big food groups like Nestle outsourcing chocolate production to it. ($1 = 1.0020 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Michael Shields and Silke Koltrowitz Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Subhranshu Sahu)