ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Investments in structures, processes and people had a negative impact on earnings for Barry Callebaut in the six months ended Feb. 28. Earnings before interest and taxes of 173.8 million Swiss francs ($186 million) compared to 177.6 million Swiss francs ($190 million) in the same time period of the previous year.

Barry Callebaut increased marketing activities for its global gourmet brands and incurred costs related to its acquisition of Petra Foods’ cocoa ingredients division of Petra Foods, Ltd., Singapore. The planned acquisition was announced last December.

Barry Callebaut’s six-month sales of 2,391.6 million Swiss francs ($2,559.1 million) compared to 2,449.6 million Swiss ($2,621.1 million) in the same time period of the previous year. The lower average prices for cocoa ingredients (cocoa beans, cocoa butter and cocoa powder) compared to the previous year brought on the decline in sales revenue.

Six-month sales volume grew nearly 8% to 745,256 tonnes from 691,061 tonnes. In comparison, the global chocolate confectionery market grew 1.5% in volume from September to January. In Barry Callebaut’s Americas region, six-month sales volume increased by nearly 14% to 200,434 tonnes. The company’s global accounts in the food manufacturers’ products business mainly drove growth.

In the second half of the fiscal year, Zurich-based Barry Callebaut expects cocoa processing results to increase, said Juergen Steinemann, chief executive officer.

“Our cost base will grow at a slower pace than volume, except for non-recurring costs related to the closing and integration of the acquisition of the cocoa ingredients division from Petra Foods,” he said.