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Swiss chocolate maker Lindt tastes sweet year ahead
[ZURICH] Swiss chocolate maker Lindt, producer of the Easter Gold Bunny, Tuesday reported higher profits in 2016 despite a difficult year for the industry amid political and economic uncertainty.
Although the group, officially known as Lindt & Spruengli, is at the top end of the market, which would give it some margin for manoeuvre on prices, the race to cut costs within the industry still took its toll.
Net profits climbed 10.2 per cent to 419.8 million Swiss francs (S$582.868 million).
The result was marginally less than predicted by analysts interviewed by Swiss agency AWP, and the company's shares dipped 0.5 per cent on the Zurich stock market in early trading.
"Lindt & Spruengli once again grew at a faster pace than the overall chocolate market in 2016," the group said.
The result "is particularly gratifying given the backdrop of a persistently challenging environment of stagnating and even declining chocolate markets, generally subdued consumer sentiment caused by political and economic uncertainty, high raw material prices and increasing price pressure from trading partners".
Sales edged up 6.8 per cent to 3.9 billion Swiss francs.
The producer, also known for its Lindor Balls, reported "dynamic" turnover in Europe, in particular in its subsidiaries in Germany and Britain, which recorded double-digit sales growth.
In North America, growth was just 3.4 per cent, as the "chocolate market as a whole declined in 2016 for the first time in years despite a more stable general economic situation", it said.
It said the results in Japan and Brazil were particularly impressive, with high double-digit sales growth mainly due to the opening of the company's own shops and cafés.