March 1, 2012 / 6:21 AM / 6 years ago

Lindt sees cautious consumers but keeps growth target

* FY net profit 246.5 mln Sfr vs 244 mln Sfr in Reuters poll

ZURICH, March 1 (Reuters) - Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Spruengli said the spectre of rising joblessness was dampening consumer sentiment and Europe’s debt crisis made the coming year hard to assess, yet the firm stuck to its growth target.

The maker of Lindor chocolate balls and gold foil-wrapped Easter bunnies said net profit rose 1.9 percent in 2011 to 246.5 million Swiss francs, just ahead of the average analyst forecast for 244 million Swiss francs in a Reuters poll.

The company, which is based in Kilchberg on Zurich lake, missed expectations for its organic sales growth in 2011 as demand for its products slowed considerably in debt crisis-shaken Southern Europe.

“Commodity markets remain volatile and consumers are being destabilized by the prospect of a worsening employment market,” the firm said, adding it was maintaining its target for annual organic growth of 6 to 8 percent.

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