ZURICH, April 12 (Reuters) - Chocolate and cocoa product maker Barry Callebaut confirmed mid-term guidance of 4-6 percent sales volume growth after net profit rose more than expected in the six months to February, as a phase-out of less profitable contracts in its cocoa business bore first fruit.
Chocolate makers face declining global demand, but Barry Callebaut is outperforming the market because big groups outsource their chocolate production to the company and its gourmet business for chefs is also growing quickly.
"Whilst markets remain volatile, we have built a healthy chocolate portfolio and expect the good momentum to continue," the company, which supplies chocolate to food groups such as Nestle and Unilever , said in a statement on Wednesday.
Net profit rose to 142.1 million Swiss francs($141.08 million) in the first half of fiscal year 2016/17, ahead of a 127 million franc forecast in a Reuters poll. ($1 = 1.0072 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz, editing by John Miller)