Barry Callebaut sales soar 22% in Q1

by Eric Schroeder
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ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — First-quarter sales at Swiss cocoa and chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut AG rose 22% behind an 11% improvement in sales volume. Sales revenue for the first quarter was 1,419.4 million Swiss francs ($1,288.4 million), which compared with 1,164.7 million Swiss francs during the same period a year ago.

Sales volumes soared 11% to 331,916 tonnes, more than three times the growth rate of the global chocolate market. The gains were driven by a good development of the company’s Food Manufacturers business unit.

"I am very pleased that Barry Callebaut continued on its growth path in the first three months of the current fiscal year," said Patrick De Maeseneire, chief executive officer. "During this period, we have focused on geographic expansion into high-growth markets such as Eastern Europe and Asia. We opened two new factories in Russia and China and acquired production capacity in Japan from Morinaga. In North America, we acquired a cocoa factory near Philadelphia and finalized the sale of the Brach’s candy business."

In Region Americas, sales revenue increased 16% to 236.6 million Swiss francs ($214.8 million). Sales volumes in the region rose 13% to 72,623 tonnes, reflecting the decision by many North American confectionery companies to outsource chocolate production.

As of July 2007, Barry Callebaut has been supplying The Hershey Co. as part of a long-term outsourcing agreement. The move has resulted in a good development of the Food Manufacturers business unit, the company said.

In addition to its financials, Barry Callebaut announced Steven Retzlaff has been named president of Global Sourcing and Cocoa, as well as a member of the senior management team. Mr. Retzlaff joined Barry Callebaut in 1996 as chief financial officer of Barry Callebaut Sourcing. From 2001 to 2003 he was c.f.o. of the business unit Cocoa, Sourcing and Risk Management. From 2003 to 2004 he was head of the Cocoa division, and was later named president of the Sourcing and Cocoa business unit from 2004 to 2006.

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