Nestlé reports sweeter profits

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The Independent Online

Nestlé posted a 7.5 per cent rise in first-half profits yesterday, but warned that its markets face headwinds in the second six months of the year.

The world's biggest food group said that net profit was up Sfr5.5bn (£3.3bn), with overall sales reaching Sfr55.3bn.

Despite strong growth in the emerging economies of Asia, Australia and Africa, where sales jumped by an average of 11.7 per cent, European markets, Nestlé's second-biggest focus after the US, were subdued.

"We have increased investment in our brands, people and capabilities and have prepared the company for a more challenging second half," said Paul Bulcke, the chief executive of the Swiss company.

Despite the second half warnings, which come after a surge in the price of cocoa and other ingredients, Nestlé stuck to its full-year targets, helped by a cost-cutting programme.