Nestle posts 11 percent increase in 3Q sales

JOHN HEILPRIN Associated Press Published:

GENEVA (AP) -- Buoyed by growth in emerging markets, Swiss food and drink giant Nestle SA on Thursday posted an 11 percent increase in sales for the first nine months of 2012.

The world's biggest food and drink company's sales rose to 67.6 billion Swiss francs ($73.3 billion) through September, up from 60.9 billion francs ($67.84 billion) during the same period in 2011.

With 11.7 percent growth in emerging markets and 2.4 percent growth in developed markets, the maker of Nescafe, Jenny Craig and Haagen-Dazs said in a statement issued before the opening of the Zurich exchange Thursday that it expects organic sales growth of 6.1 percent this year and 2.9 percent real internal growth.

Nestle Chief Executive Paul Bulcke attributed the success in less-developed markets to the company "expanding our routes to market and enhancing our product offerings," but noted that Nestle also managed to grow in "the intensely competitive developed markets in spite of a general economic malaise and low levels of consumer confidence."

With that success and lowered costs for its raw materials, he added, Nestle's "continued momentum in real internal growth, combined with some easing of input cost pressures, allows us to confirm our full-year outlook."

But the company's statement said that outlook also includes the expectation that "the tough trading environment, especially in developed markets, is continuing."

Shares in Nestle closed Wednesday at 62.25 francs ($67.51) in Zurich, up 9.89 percent since the start of the year.