SWITZERLAND – The world’s largest cocoa and chocolate supplier, Barry Callebaut, has issued a new lower three-year guidance for growth, citing a return to pre-COVID demand levels, targeting an average +4-6% volume growth for the period 2023/24 – 2025/26.

Barry Callebaut also said it would target 8%-10% EBIT growth in local currencies for 2023-2026, with further ROIC improvement, which pushed shares in the Group up 2.07% during early trading Wednesday (18).

The guidance comesfollows a sales drop of -5.1% for the first three months to the end of November 2022 compared to +9.6% in the same quarter in the prior year.

It was due to the declines that occurred at its Wieze factory in Belgium, which was hit by a salmonella scare last year, the company explained.

As it started ramping up production again in Belgium, significant destocking and food manufacturers delaying orders also contributed to the decline in volume, the Swiss-headquartered Group said in a statement.

The company said the decline affected all regions, in particular, EMEA (-8.5%), while the Group’s Key Growth Drivers Emerging Markets (-3.8%), Outsourcing (-0.1%), and Gourmet & Specialties (-11.2%) had a slow start.

Excluding the delayed impact due to the Wieze ramp-up, Gourmet & Specialties volume would have been flat against a record high comparator (+33.8%).

Peter Boone, CEO of the Barry Callebaut Group said: “We had expected coming out of Covid an acceleration. The acceleration is back to a normal trajectory. With Wieze fully operational since the end of October and against a strong comparator, we had, as expected, a slow start to the year.”

“In markets where Gourmet products were widely available, we continued to win. We are committed to achieving our current 3-year mid-term guidance in this final year, based on our broad product portfolio and broad geographic and customer base.”

Lindt & Spruengli sales surges to US$5.3 billion in 2022

Meanwhile, the luxury Swiss chocolate maker, Lindt & Spruengli, in its latest financial results said strong international sales, particularly in the North American market, helped its organic sales grow by 8.4% in 2022.

Overall sales rose to 4.97 billion Swiss francs (US$5.30 billion) in 2022, the maker of Lindor balls and gold foil-wrapped Easter bunnies said in a statement.

All geographical regions contributed to the growth, in particular the countries in the ‘Rest of the World’ and ‘North America’ regions, which recorded increases of 16.6% and 15.7% (to over CHF 2.0 billion), respectively. The company said it was “confident” of achieving an operating margin of 15% for 2022.

Despite strong growth in North America and the Rest of the World, sales in Europe fell slightly to 2.30 billion francs from 2.33 billion due to currency effects, said Lindt.

The Zurich-based company expects a challenging 2023 due to the inflationary environment but maintained its sales growth target of 6-8%.

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