August 27, 2008

Premium Tastes Sweeten Lindt


STRONG demand for premium chocolates helped Lindt & Spruengli to offset spiralling raw material costs, the Swiss chocolatier yesterday said.

First-half pre-tax profits at Lindt - which makes Lindor pralines and gold-wrapped Easter bunnies - rose by 5 per cent to 23 million Swiss francs (GBP 11.4m), beating analysts' forecasts.

Lindt said demand for its "Excellence" and "Creation 70 per cent" products had been "upbeat" and would help the group to meet its financial goals.

Ernst Tanner, chief executive, said: "In 2008, we have had basically everything that can go against us going against us."

He highlighted the damaging effects of foreign exchange rates and higher costs for raw materials such as cocoa, hazelnuts and dairy products.

The company said it was maintaining its medium to long-term annual sales growth target of 6 to 8 per cent, as well as its goal on increased operating margin.

Sales growth at the group slowed to 8 per cent compared with 13.5 per cent in the same period last year as the group was hit by an early Easter, which, coming shortly after Christmas and Valentine's Day, meant appetite for Lindt products was limited.

Lindt, which traces its origins to a Zurich confectionery shop established in the 1840s, has tapped into the growing appetite for premium and dark chocolates and indulgence foods in general.

(c) 2008 Scotsman, The. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.