ZURICH, July 4 (Reuters) - Barry Callebaut, the world's biggest maker of chocolate and cocoa products, said sales volumes grew by a better-than-expected 8.2 percent in the nine months to May, boosted by strong demand in emerging markets.
Outsourcing deals with food companies have so far helped the group, which supplies chocolate for Unilever's Magnum icecream, outperform an austerity-hit chocolate market in Europe, which accounts for about half of its sales.
The group's sales revenue fell 1.3 percent to 3.541 billion Swiss francs, in line with an estimate in a Reuters poll, hit by lower raw material prices passed on to customers, Barry Callebaut said in a statement on Thursday.
Earlier this week, the Zurich-based group confirmed its mid-term financial guidance for 6-8 percent volume growth through 2015/16. By then, it also wants to restore profitability to the level seen before its $860 million buy of Petra Foods' cocoa unit that made it the world's No.1 in cocoa powder.