Zurich / CH. (bc) Swiss Barry Callebaut Group, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, reported sales volume of 1,130,742 tonnes in the first six months of fiscal year 2022/23 (ended February 28, 2023). Following a slow start in the first quarter (-5.1 percent) due to the residual effects from the Wieze ramp-up, volume progressively recovered in the second quarter (-0.5 percent), resulting in a volume decline of -2.9 percent in the first half year. Chocolate volume picked up in the second quarter in Region EMEA (+1.8 percent, Half Year -3.7 percent) and remained about stable in Region Asia Pacific (+0.4 percent, Half Year +0.3 percent). Volume declined in Region Americas (-6.6 percent, Half Year -4.4 percent). Overall chocolate volume in the first six months declined (-3.6 percent). Excluding the Wieze ramp-up effect, volume performance was in line with the underlying global chocolate confectionery market (-1.8 percent). The Group’s key growth drivers turned positive in the second quarter: Outsourcing +3.0 percent (Half Year +1.4 percent), Emerging Markets +2.1 percent (Half Year -1.0 percent) and Gourmet + Specialties +0.4 percent (Half Year -5.8 percent). Global Cocoa volume normalized and amounted to 227,773 tonnes, flat (-0.1 percent) compared to prior-year period.
Sales revenue amounted to CHF 4,180.7 million, up +7.9 percent in local currencies (+3.7 percent in CHF). The increase was driven by higher raw material prices and the inflationary environment, which Barry Callebaut manages through its cost-plus pricing model for the majority of its business, and by the positive product mix.
Gross profit amounted to CHF 664.1 million, up +11.4 percent in local currencies (+9.5 percent in CHF). The negative volume impact, due to the residual effects from the Wieze ramp-up in the first quarter, was more than compensated for by the strong product mix effect and the positive contribution from the cocoa business.
Operating profit (Ebit) was strong and amounted to CHF 348.4 million, an increase of +11.0 percent in local currencies (+9.5 percent in CHF) compared to prior-year Ebit recurring, well ahead of volume. Ebit per tonne increased to CHF 308 from CHF 273 in prior year recurring, as a result of the positive product mix.
Net profit for the period amounted to CHF 234.3 million, up +10.4 percent in local currencies (+10.5 percent in CHF) compared to prior-year Net profit recurring. The increase was supported by strong operating profit (Ebit), partially offset by slightly higher Net financing cost due to higher benchmark interest rates and slightly higher Income tax expenses of CHF -53.9 million. The effective tax rate amounted to 18.7 percent.
Net working capital increased to CHF 1,699.3 million from CHF 1,598.8 million in the prior-year period. Receivables and inventory mainly increased amidst raw materials price inflation and the latter additionally by the early harvest of the main cocoa bean crop. The effects were partially offset by higher payables.
Free cash flow generation continued to be solid and amounted to CHF -188.2 million, compared to CHF -132.6 million in prior-year period, despite the increasing prices of raw materials. Adjusted for the effect of cocoa beans considered as readily marketable inventories (RMI), the adjusted Free cash flow amounted to CHF 71.2 million (February 28, 2022: CHF 167.0 million).
Net debt remained about stable at CHF 1,581.5 million compared to CHF 1,594.3 million in the prior-year period. Taking into consideration the cocoa bean inventories as readily marketable inventories (RMI), the adjusted Net debt decreased to CHF 368.4 million, compared to CHF 561.1 million in the prior-year period.
For additional information please read the company’s PDF file below (133 KB):20230405-BARRY-CALLEBAUT-H1-2023