Financial Year 2003
Lindt & Sprüngli: Firmly on course for continued success with above-average growth in sales and profitability
Sales: + 7.8% (in CHF: +7.1%)
EBIT: + 10.5%
Net income: + 20.1%
Dividend: + 27.3%
Kilchberg, 6 April 2004 – Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG increased sales in 2003 by 7.1% to CHF 1.801 billion in Swiss franc terms (previous year 1.681 billion). Expressed in local currencies, organic growth stood at 7.8%. Measured against the overall development of the chocolate market, this represents a substantially above-average growth and is all the more pleasing because it was achieved in a particularly challenging environment.
The Group’s profitability rose even more impressively in 2003. EBIT increased by 10.5% and achieved 188.7 million (previous year CHF 170.8 million). Thanks to an improved net financial result and a lower tax rate, the Group net income improved by an outstanding 20.1% to CHF 122.4 million (previous year CHF 101.9 million). At the end of 2003 cash flow stood at CHF 206.2 million, which represents an increase of 15.6% over the previous year.
The balance sheet – already solid – further improved in the course of the past year. Shareholders’ equity was up to CHF 728.7 million representing 45.8% of the balance sheet total (previous year 40.8%). Net indebtedness was down by a further CHF 81.0 million to CHF 59.2 million.
The continuous above-average improvements year by year in both sales and earnings testify to the steadily increasing popularity of LINDT products, which stand out from the rest of the market by offering clear, consumer-relevant benefits. Consistent positioning of the Lindt & Sprüngli brands in the top segment of the quality pyramid together with the Group’s clear commitment to product values and innovation on a regular basis clearly meet a consumer need for trust, reliability and increasingly attractive products.
In light of the improvement in sales and profitability, the Board of Directors is proposing to the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on April 29, 2004 to increase the dividend by 27.3% to CHF 140.-- (previous year CHF 110.--) per registered share, and CHF 14.-- per participation certificate (previous year CHF 11.--). In view of the good results achieved over the past ten years, the Board of Directors will be asking the same General Meeting to approve an increase in conditional participation capital. This will be used to maintain the employee stock option participation program.
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