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Barry Callebaut Net Rises on Chocolate Sales to India, China

April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Barry Callebaut AG, the world’s largest maker of bulk chocolate, said first-half profit rose, helped by sales in emerging markets such as China and India.

Net income in the six months through February rose 9.2 percent to 159 million Swiss francs ($173 million), Zurich-based Barry Callebaut said on its website today.

The Chinese chocolate market expanded 8.2 percent in the previous fiscal year, compared with 2.7 percent growth in the U.S. and 0.9 percent in western Europe, the company said in November. Barry Callebaut today said it bought the 40 percent stake it didn’t already own in a Malaysian unit, expanding in Asia.

Barry Callebaut said it has been purchasing more cocoa from other sources outside of the Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest supplier, amid political conflict there. The chocolate maker said it expects to be able to meet commitments in its contracts this year.

The company has contracts to supply Nestle SA, Kraft Foods Inc. and Hershey Co. with chocolate that those companies sell under their own brands.

First-half revenue rose 3.1 percent to 2.74 billion francs, weighed down by exchange-rate movements such as the euro’s decline against the franc. Excluding currency shifts, sales climbed 13 percent.

Growth in earnings before interest and taxes will on average at least match shipment growth of 6 percent to 8 percent in the four years through August 2013, excluding currency shifts, the Swiss company reiterated.

Barry Callebaut has gained about 10 percent in Zurich trading in the past year, compared with a 7 percent gain for the Bloomberg Europe Food Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Mulier in Geneva at tmulier@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net.

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