Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Sprüngli is off to a stronger start for 2012 with operating profits up 16% following stagnant results for last year.
The chocolate firm pulled in sales of €860m (CHF 10.033bn) for the period January to June 2012 (H1).
Its 16% surge in operating profits, up to €40.5m (CHF 48.7M), exceeded the company’s medium to long-term target, Lindt said.
“Substantial” market shares were gained, it said, particularly across Europe in Germany, France and Switzerland, although struggles across wider Europe fuelled by the crisis remained.
Its North America market share surged by 6.7% with Lindt and Ghirardelli brands contributing most to growth in the US (the firm’s biggest market) and Canada.
North America represented the largest chunk of H1 sales at 25.7% compared to Germany (19.5%), France (11.3%) and Italy (10.7%).
Valentine and Easter sales accounted for much a significant slice of successful operations in H1, Lindt said.
Bitter, sweet Eurozone
“The main overall chocolate markets in Europe were still flat in terms of both value and volume,” Ernst Tanner, chairman and CEO of Lindt & Sprüngli, said.
“At the same time, consumer sentiment remained rather weak and even deteriorated further, especially in southern Europe. In North American too, consumers proved increasingly reluctant to spend money because of the prevailing economic uncertainty,” Tanner added.
Lindt said it anticipate the euro crisis and general economic background conditions would continue to challenge business in the second half of 2012.
However, profit targets are in line, the chairman and CEO said, and “the continuous gain of new market shares on key markets and geographical expansion into growth markets will remain the topmost priority”.
“In addition, emphasis will be placed on further intensification of the marketing and advertising activities,” he added.
Analyst, Jon Cox, head of European food and beverage research at Kepler Capital Markets, previously told this site that a Nestlé takeover was inevitable – although one that would not happen for a few years. (See HERE )
On August 1, the company opened its subsidiary in China, in a bid to gain traction in “the dynamic Asian market which still has high potential for the future”, Tanner said. Two Lindt cafés were also opened in Tokyo, Japan.