Barry Callebaut sales up slightly in quarter

by Staff
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ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — Despite difficult market conditions, sales revenue at Barry Callebaut AG for the three months ended Nov. 30 was up 1% with a 2% increase in sales volume.

Sales revenue for the quarter was 1,429.1 million Swiss francs ($1,248.3 million), which compared with 1,419.4 million Swiss francs during the same period of the previous year.

Sales volumes were up to 338,513 tonnes.

"Barry Callebaut succeeded in growing its business in the first quarter despite challenging market conditions," said Patrick De Maeseneire, chief executive officer. "After an unusually weak month of November, we saw a marked pick-up in orders in December. Our expansion into high-growth markets is paying off. For the remainder of the year we expect emerging markets and North America to perform well. In addition, our outsourcing volumes will accelerate as new production capacities in Mexico and Japan become available as of January 2009. Efficiency measures initiated in January 2008 and lower input costs have led to higher margins."

In Region Americas, sales revenue increased 25% to 294.8 million Swiss francs ($257.6 million). Sales volume in the region increased 14% to 82,497 tonnes.

"While we expect customers and consumers, especially in the mature markets of Western Europe, to remain cautious, we believe our strategy built upon geographic expansion, innovation and cost leadership positions us well to weather the tough economic environment," Mr. De Maeseneire said. "We therefore remain confident that we will reach our four-year financial targets."

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