Earnings melt at chocolate maker

Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut said yesterday its net profit fell a greater than expected 7.4 per cent in the half-year to February due to bigger investment expenses and costs related to a recent acquisition. Net profit fell to SFr116.4m (£81.4m). Chief exec Juergen Steinemann said results were hit by an unfavourable combined cocoa ratio, meaning prices for the group's cocoa ingredients like cocoa butter and powder fell more than cocoa bean prices.