Swiss-Belgian chocolate producer Barry Callebaut has sold less chocolate over the past six months. The world’s largest chocolate producer suffered a salmonella infection, which led to a temporary factory shutdown. A new CEO is taking over, trying to restore the positive figures.
Barry Callebaut sold 2.9 % less chocolate in the first half of the financial year 2022/23. With the impact of a salmonella outbreak at the Belgian factory in Wieze lingering for a long time, volume even fell by 5.1 % in the first quarter.
But even without that effect, 1.8 % less chocolate was sold: “in line with the underlying global market for chocolate products”. Due to inflation, demand was lower than expected, CFO Ben De Schryver explains. In the second quarter, volume gradually recovered.
Sales reached 4.2 billion Swiss francs (virtually the same in euros), which represents a growth of 7.9 % in local currency. Barry Callebaut is particularly pleased with its strong profitability: net profit amounted to 234.3 million Swiss francs, 10.4 % higher than the previous year in local currency. De Schryver praised the group’s “continued cost leadership” and good product mix.
More profit than growth
The chocolate manufacturer now expects stable or modest volume growth and strong operating profitability (EBIT) for the full year. For the next three years, the chocolate brand supplier expects to rely mainly on profitability, as volumes will increase by less than 5 % on average.
The Barry Callebaut Group also has a new CEO: German Peter Feld succeeds Peter Boone, who is stepping down for personal reasons with immediate effect. Feld has more than thirty years of experience in global consumer goods and services companies, including P&G and Jacobs.