Barry Callebaut, maker of chocolate for Nestle and Hershey, expects to outpace the market in the second half of its fiscal year despite unrest in the top cocoa growing Ivory Coast region, reports Reuters. The world''s largest chocolate maker topped estimates with a 9 percent rise in first-half net profit to 159 million Swiss francs ($173.4 million), while sales rose 3 percent, or 13 percent in local currencies, to 2.7 billion francs. "Barry Callebaut is confident that its good performance in the past six months will continue in the second half of fiscal year 2010/11 despite the challenging situation in Cote d''Ivoire," the group said in a statement. The group also said its factory in Japan had not been hit by the crisis there. The global chocolate market, hit hard during the economic crisis, is slowly returning to growth as consumers indulge again in sweet treats, and Barry Callebaut is benefiting from big confectionery groups outsourcing their chocolate production. The industry has also had to grapple with high raw material costs and post-election violence in major cocoa grower Ivory Coast, which supplies the world with around one third of its cocoa. But hopes the political situation in the Ivory Coast could soon be resolved has led to an easing of cocoa prices recently. Barry Callebaut, which said last month it had stopped exporting cocoa from the Ivory Coast, has stepped up sourcing and production in other countries, such as Brazil, Ghana, Cameroon and Malaysia to avoid supply problems. Steinemann also told Reuters Barry Callebaut''s factories in the Ivory Coast were still up and running and that the group would be in a strong position to start moving quickly once the when an export ban is lifted.