© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Empoyees of chocolate and cocoa product maker Barry Callebaut prepare chocolates after the company’s annual news conference in Zurich, Switzerland November 7, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo
(Reuters) -Barry Callebaut, the world’s biggest chocolate maker, on Wednesday adjusted its medium-term growth targets to align them with the new strategy and investment plan it announced in September.
The Swiss firm now expects its volumes to grow by a low to mid single-digit percentage from the fiscal year 2025/2026 onwards. It had previously forecast mid-term growth of below 5% on average for 2023-2026.
The company, which supplies chocolate for Unilever (LON:)’s Magnum ice creams and Nestle’s KitKat bars, said it saw flat volumes in the 2023/2024 financial year followed by modest growth a year after.
“Barry Callebaut expects a 24-month transition period as it undertakes the actions necessary to create the profitable growth platform that delivers long-term value,” it said in a statement.
In September, the Zurich-based firm said it would spend 500 million Swiss francs ($550.4 million) over two years as part of a plan to cut annual costs through improved services, research and development among others.
In the fiscal year through Aug. 31, the company’s sales volumes fell slightly to 2.28 million tonnes, in line with analysts’ expectations in a company-provided consensus.
The volumes were hit by a two-month shutdown on its largest factory in Wieze, Belgium, due to a salmonella case, weaker customer demand and rising raw material prices, the company said.
It proposed a dividend of 29 Swiss francs per share for fiscal 2022/2023, compared to 28 francs a year earlier.
($1 = 0.9084 Swiss francs)