July 13, 2018 / 5:40 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Barry Callebaut sales growth slows in Q3

(Adds CEO comment, outlook)

ZURICH, July 13 (Reuters) - Chocolate and cocoa company Barry Callebaut said on Friday it was still growing faster than the market despite sales volumes expanding more slowly in the quarter to May 31 as fewer new outsourcing contracts kicked in.

Sales volumes rose 4.8 percent in the three months to the end of May, slightly ahead of expectations for a 4.5 percent rise in a Reuters poll, but below the 8.0 percent growth posted in the first half.

"After the very strong performance in the first half of this fiscal year, we continued to see strong momentum in the third quarter, fueled by all key growth drivers, regions and product groups," said Chief Executive Antoine de Saint-Affrique.

"Our volume growth was again significantly above the global chocolate confectionery market," he added.

Sales revenue during the first nine months of its fiscal year fell 0.2 percent to 5.18 billion Swiss francs ($5.17 billion) due to lower raw materials prices which the company passed on to its customers.

Barry Callebaut makes chocolate and cocoa products for big food companies like Nestle and Mondelez.

Its gourmet and specialties business catering to chefs and pastry makers posted volume growth of 7.8 percent for the nine months, up from the 7.1 percent rate at the six-month stage.

But growth in emerging markets eased to 8.8 percent, while outsourcing contracts, the company's other traditional sales driver, slowed to 6.2 percent.

The Zurich-based company confirmed its mid-term guidance for 4–6 percent volume growth through fiscal 2018/19. ($1 = 1.0026 Swiss francs) (Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Michael Shields)

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