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Callebaut Says Cocoa Factories Unaffected by Ivory Coast Unrest

Barry Callebaut AG, the world’s largest maker of bulk chocolate, said political unrest following Ivory Coast’s disputed presidential election hasn’t disrupted its cocoa factories or exports from the world’s largest grower.

“Our factories in Abidjan and San Pedro are running normally,” Zurich-based spokesman Raphael Wermuth said in a phone interview today. “We are watching the situation closely in the Ivory Coast and we have taken some precautions in order to ensure the safety of our employees.

‘‘We have been operating in the country since 1963, so we have some experience,’’ he added.

Cocoa advanced in London and New York after Laurent Gbagbo was sworn in as Ivory Coast’s president in defiance of the United Nations and the country’s Electoral Commission, increasing speculation that exports may be disrupted.

Gbagbo, the incumbent, was sworn in on Dec. 4 after the Constitutional Council rejected the Electoral Commission’s vote count from the Nov. 28 election, alleging vote rigging in some northern states. Hours later his opponent, Alassane Ouattara, said he had taken the oath of office, citing the 54.1 percent of the vote the commission said he won. The UN, the European Union and the U.S. have all backed Ouattara.

Cocoa for March delivery gained 15 pounds, or 0.8 percent, to 1,974 pounds ($3,098) a metric ton at 12:25 p.m. on NYSE Liffe in London. Prices surged 4.5 percent last week, the biggest gain since the week ended June 4.

The chocolate ingredient for March delivery gained $18, or 0.6 percent, to $2,953 a ton on ICE Futures U.S. in New York. Last week prices surged 5 percent, the most since the week to July 16.

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