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Business News

Nestle sales up in tough conditions


Swiss food and drinks giant Nestle reported first-quarter sales of 21.39 billion Swiss francs (£14.56 billion) today.

The company, based in Vevey, said its first-quarter sales, up 5.6% from 20.26 billion Swiss francs (£13.79 billion) a year ago, reflected strong growth in emerging markets, despite low consumer confidence amid financial crises in developed countries.

"As anticipated, 2012 is already confirming itself to be a challenging year," Nestle chief executive Paul Bulcke said.

"In many developed markets where consumer confidence is low, the trading environment is subdued, whilst in most emerging markets conditions remain dynamic and rich in growth opportunities," he said.

"Our past and present investments, and continuing innovation, have enabled us to deliver good growth in the first quarter."

Mr Bulcke said a combination of higher prices and improvement in getting raw materials has enabled the company to "confirm our full-year outlook of delivering 5% to 6% organic growth" and higher earnings for shareholders.

Like many Swiss companies, Nestle has had to cope with the strength of the Swiss franc against other currencies, but since last summer Switzerland's central bank has moved aggressively to weaken the franc and improve the outlook for Swiss exports.

The world's biggest food and beverage maker said its organic sales growth was a robust 7.2%, while real internal growth was 2.8%.

Nestle said the organic growth was 6.2% in the Americas, 2.3% in Europe and 11.4% in Asia, Oceania and Africa.

The company had posted sales of 22.34 billion francs (£15.2 billion) in the first quarter of 2010.