Barry Callebaut delivers strong growth in fiscal 2009

by Eric Schroeder
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ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — Strong sales and volume helped drive a 10% gain in profit at Barry Callebaut AG in the fiscal year ended Aug. 31. Net profit for fiscal 2009 was 226.9 million Swiss francs ($224.3 million), up from 205.5 million Swiss francs in fiscal 2008.

Sales for the year totaled 4,880.2 million Swiss francs ($4,823.2 million), up 1.3% from 4,815.4 million Swiss francs in fiscal 2008.

Sales volumes were up 4.1% to 1,213,610 tonnes. Barry Callebaut attributed the gain to three factors: early expansion into emerging and high-growth markets, the implementation of outsourcing deals, and market share gains.

“I am pleased that we were able to deliver strong top-line and bottom-line growth in the face of a rarely seen global chocolate consumption decline,” said Juergen B. Steinemann, chief executive officer. “After reaching a low in winter 2008, growth resumed and regained momentum in the second half of the year. Our growth strategy based on the three pillars of geographic expansion, innovation and cost leadership, coupled with our robust business model, our diversified product offering and ongoing efficiency improvement initiatives, clearly stood the test of the global economic recession.”

Mr. Steinemann said the company took significant steps during fiscal 2009, including expanding to new markets such as Mexico and adding new capabilities such as a pastry factory in Spain.

“We reconfirm our strategic focus on industrial and artisanal customers,” he said. “We will continue to build upon this strategy in the coming years while also achieving further synergies across our businesses and completing the integration of recent acquisitions.”

In Region Americas, EBITDA rose 16% to 109.7 million Swiss francs ($108.4 million), while revenues increased 23% to 1,145.8 million Swiss francs ($1,132.4 million). Sales volume in the region increased 10% to 321,852 tonnes, driven by additional deliveries to The Hershey Co. under a long-term supply contract signed in 2007, early returns from the company’s geographic expansion to Mexico and South America, and new business gains with food manufacturers.

Barry Callebaut said its footprint expansion across North America has been fully completed with the start-up of its new chocolate factory in Monterrey, Mexico, and the opening of a Chocolate Academy in Chicago.

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