Barry Callebaut’s European business has seen a 2.4% increase in revenue to CHF624.6m (£419.7m), despite the group’s overall 0.5% drop in sales.

In the Zurich-based international chocolate business’ latest 2012/13 fiscal year figures, for the three-month period to 30 November 2012, group sales accumulated to CHF1.24bn (£836.6m) - a drop from last year’s CHF1.25bn (£839.7m) - while volumes saw a 8.3% growth.

In the company’s Europe division, sales volume rose by 6.3% to 201,006 tonnes, which Barry Callebaut said was in a market environment that was “still depressed in southern Europe”. Barry Callebaut’s European Gourmet & Specialties Products division reported double-digit volume growth.

The firm said growth in western Europe was particularly driven by the Food Manufacturers Products business, which produces chocolate, fillings, decorations and inclusions for the industry.

Juergen Steinemann, chief executive of Barry Callebaut, said: “I am pleased we were able to achieve a strong volume growth in the first three months of our fiscal year, driven by substantial growth in emerging markets, but also supported by a solid development in North America and Western Europe. With this and despite the current adverse economic environment in some countries, once again we significantly outperformed the market.”

He added that the planned acquisition of Singapore-based Petra Foods’ Cocoa Ingredients division - the largest deal in the company’s history - was an important step in Barry Callebaut achieving its overall growth plans.

Barry Callebaut has said the above acquisition deal could “boost its presence in fast-growing emerging markets” to almost one-third of the group’s sales volume. This will see the company manufacturing cocoa powder-based products for bakery goods, in addition to beverages, compound chocolates, fillings and ice cream.

Steinemann concluded: “We will continue to implement the various communicated projects supporting our top and bottom-line growth. I am confident we will reach our mid-term financial targets.”