The chief executive of chocolate maker Barry Callebaut, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, has said that the business is confident that it will "rapidly regain momentum" following a challenging third quarter.
The business saw sales volumes down 14.3% in the quarter, while sales volumes over the first nine months of the year were down 1.3%, impacted by the COVID crisis.
Sales revenues for the first nine months were CHF 5.2 billion, up 0.4% in local currencies, but down 4.4% in Swiss francs terms.
The company said that it was seeing signs of sales volume recovery in June, with the easing of local lockdowns.
"As anticipated in April, COVID-19 lockdowns across the globe impacted our sales volume in the third quarter, and herewith the good momentum of the first six months of fiscal year 2019/20," de Saint-Affrique commented.
"We expect to emerge from the crisis with even closer relationships with our customers and suppliers, with fresh insights into innovative ways of doing business and a solid financial basis."
The company has updated its mid-term guidance, excluding fiscal year 2019/20, and introducing increased metrics of, on average for the 3-year period 2020/21 to 2022/23, +5-7% volume growth and EBIT above volume growth in local currencies, barring any major unforeseeable events, it said.
In the first nine months of the year, Barry Callebaut added a fourth production line to its chocolate factory in Senoko, Singapore, bolstering its Asia presence, while in May the business signed a deal to acquire GKC Foods (Australia) Pty Ltd, a producer of chocolate, coatings and fillings, serving many consumer chocolate brands in Australia and New Zealand.
Also in May, the business signed an outsourcing agreement in Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, for the supply of compound and chocolate, with the ramp up in deliveries due to start in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020/21.
In the group's EMEA region, volumes were down 2.3% in the first nine months of the year, while in Americas, volumes fell by 2.6%. Asia Pacific, meanwhile, saw a 11.1% increase in sales volumes.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine