April 11, 2018 / 5:35 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Barry Callebaut confirms targets after H1 results beat expectations

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ZURICH, April 11 (Reuters) - Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut confirmed its mid-term financial targets of 4-6 percent volume growth after sales volumes grew 8 percent and net profit jumped by a third in the six months to Feb. 28, beating market expectations.

"We continue to see healthy market dynamics. We have good visibility in our portfolio," the group, which makes chocolate and cocoa products for big food groups such as Nestle and Mondelez, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Chocolate makers have been grappling with sluggish global chocolate demand, but Barry Callebaut has so far bucked the trend by relying on outsourcing contracts and a thriving 'gourmet' business with chefs and pastry makers.

Sales volumes increased 8.0 percent in the first half of Barry Callebaut's fiscal year 2017/18, ahead of the average 7.2 percent rise forecast in a Reuters poll, helped by a strong performance in Europe and accelerating growth in the Americas.

Net profit jumped 33 percent to 173 million Swiss francs ($180.9 million) on a recurring basis, helped in part by lower net finance costs. The figure was also slightly better than the 171 million estimate in the poll.

$1 = 0.9561 Swiss francs Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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