Lindt & Spruengli, the world's largest maker of premium chocolate, reported a 2012 profit that missed analysts' estimates as most chocolate markets stagnated.
Profit after tax rose 12pc to 271.9 million francs (€220m) in 2012, the Swiss company said.
That missed the 277 million franc average estimate of four analysts. The chocolate maker proposed to increase the dividend 15pc to 575 francs per registered share.
Lindt said it expected a "difficult economic environment" in 2013 as rising unemployment weighed on consumer spending, especially in southern Europe, though the company was "well- placed to face the coming challenges."
But it said it expected to meet its long-term goals for sales and profitability this year after it outperformed rivals in markets that were mostly unchanged or declined "slightly".
The long-term targets are annual organic sales growth of 6pc to 8pc, with an improvement of the operating profit margin of 0.2 to 0.4 percentage points.
"Not only the key markets in Europe and North America, but also the new emerging markets in Russia, Asia and South America will play a role," Lindt said.
The Swiss chocolatier also said there were "some signs" the Swiss franc was weakening, which might boost exports. (Bloomberg)