USA – Lindt & Sprüngli, a Swiss chocolatier and confectionery company, has reported an increase of 7.7% in sales in the first half-year, generating consolidated sales of US$1.68 billion.

According to the company, strong group sales in Swiss francs up by 7.7% to US$1.67 billion while organic growth was 5.1%.

The increase in operating profit (EBIT) by11.5% to US$117.1 million, while the rise in net income was 12.7% to US$86 million.

Market share gains were particularly impressive in the large markets in Europe, considering the highly saturated chocolate markets and an exceptionally challenging trading environment.

A vibrant seasonal business, the launch of product innovations and the good performance of own chocolate boutiques and cafés are building the base for this success.

The “Europe” segment generated sales of US$855.6 million, which represents an organic growth of 5.0%.

Key growth drivers in this segment were the core product lines Lindor and Excellence as well as limited editions of the famous Gold Bunny at Easter.

In addition, a sugar-free product line from Italy attracted attention.

The company added that as part of the ongoing growth drive in Europe, major investment projects were instigated in the first half of 2018 in order to expand capacities at the production facilities in Switzerland and Germany.

In 2018, Lindt & Sprüngli investment is over US$30 million in modernizing and expanding the Lindt Cocoa Center in Olten, Switzerland, where cocoa mass for the European production companies is produced.

It also reported that despite a challenging trading environment, the “NAFTA” segment was able to report solid organic growth of 4.0% in the first half of 2018, with total sales amounting to US$564.1 million.

As No. 1 in the premium segment and No. 3 in the US chocolate market as a whole, Lindt & Sprüngli has an almost unbroken record of consistent sales and volume growth in recent years.

To support Lindt & Sprüngli’s expansion plan in North America, around US$200 million will be invested in the construction of new high-tech production lines for cocoa and chocolate mass within the next 3 to 4 years in the US-plant in Stratham.

The continuing successful expansion of the Lindt & Sprüngli Farming Program is showing a positive impact: in 2017 over 60,000 farmers already benefited from Lindt & Sprüngli’s own sustainable sourcing model, and 79% of the sourced cocoa beans were traceable and externally verified.

After initial success in Ghana, Ecuador, Madagascar, and Papua New Guinea, the Program was expanded to the Dominican Republic in the first half of 2018.

“We are well on track to achieve our goal of having a 100% verified supply chain for cocoa beans by 2020.”