Barry Callebaut reported a drop in full-year operating profit as the Swiss chocolate maker counted the cost of the shutdown of its largest factory following a salmonella outbreak.
The company, which supplies chocolate to food groups such as Unilever for its Magnum ice creams and Nestlé for its KitKat bars, said operating profit fell 2.3% to CHF 553.5 million (€560.4 million), missing analyst forecasts for CHF 586.5 million (€593.8 million).
The figure was hit by the one-off impact of CHF 76.9 million (€77.9 million) related to the salmonella outbreak at the Wieze factory in Belgium, which was detected in June.
Sales volumes were also affected by the shutdown, with full-year volumes increasing to 2.3 million tonnes. The 5.3% increase represented a slowdown from the 7.9% increase during the first nine months of the year.
Despite the disruption, Barry Callebaut achieved its guidance of increasing volume growth of 5% to 7%. However, it missed its goal of raising its operating profit in local currencies at a higher level than volumes.
Operating profit in local currencies, which cuts out the impact of currency swings, increased by only 0.1% during the year.
Barry Callebaut had been due to release its earnings on Wednesday, but published the figures early due to an "unforeseen event".
The company said it was 'on track' to achieve its mid-term guidance for the financial year 2022/23, backed by the consistency of its growth strategy and the strength of its innovation pipeline.
Peter Boone, CEO of the Barry Callebaut Group, stated, "Our Wieze factory runs again at normal capacity, though we will still experience an impact in the first quarter 2022/23 as we are catching up on delayed volume. I want to thank all the colleagues involved for their relentless work in the cleaning of the factory and all our customers for their loyalty and cooperation."
News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM. For more A-Brands news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.