Sales volume for the first three months of fiscal year 2006/07 ended November 30, 2006 was up organically by 5.7 per cent to 316,506 tonnes, while sales revenue increased 3.6 per cent to CHF 1,241.7 million.
The chocolate manufacturer's solid results follow the introduction of a new regionally focused structure, which was put in place last September.
This change has resulted in a new reporting structure in line with the companys main business regions, i.e. Europe, the Americas, Asia & Rest of the World.
"We were able to carry the strong fourth quarter growth of the past fiscal year into the first quarter of the current fiscal year; seasonal Christmas business was again very good," said Patrick De Maeseneire, CEO of Barry Callebaut.
"Our new organisational structure introduced as of 1 September 2006 will allow us to drive the intended geographic expansion and growth outside of Western Europe with the necessary determination.
"We are satisfied with our results for the first three months of fiscal year 2006/07."
Region Europe had a sales volume growth of 7.7 per cent to 215,984 tonnes (200,555 tonnes), driven by good sales mainly in the business with industrial and artisanal customers. Sales revenue increased 5.8 per cent to CHF 886.3 million, up from CHF 838.0 million for the same prior-year period, mainly as a result of higher sales volumes, helped by positive foreign exchange effects.
The Zurich-based group also reconfirmed its decision to repay the outstanding 9 per cent high-yield bond due 2010 in the amount of €165 million by 15 March 2007.
"I am pleased that we can repay the outstanding high-yield bond at the first possible call date, thanks to our strong financial position," said De Maeseneire.
"This will have a direct positive impact on our financial performance as of the next fiscal year. We can confirm the communicated financial targets for the three-year period 2005/06 through 2007/08, which are on average: organic top-line growth of three to five per cent, EBIT growth of approximately eight to ten per cent and PAT growth of 12 to 15 per cent.
"This outlook, of course, is given barring any major unforeseen events."
Barry Callebaut also announced that it plans to bring its disclosure of financial results in line with other major food companies. The company will publish only key sales figures for the first and the third quarter but maintain the publication of detailed half-year and full-year results.