Vevey, Switzerland — Nestlé S.A. CEO Paul Bulcke is optimistic about the company’s performance this year in spite of slower-than-projected growth for the first nine months this year. Organic sales growth for the period was 4.4 percent compared with 6.1 percent for the same period in 2012.
“We expect our continued growth momentum to enable us to deliver around five percent organic growth for the full year, together with an improvement in margins and underlying earnings per share in constant currencies as well as an improvement in our capital efficiency,” Bulcke said.
His message to an investors’ conference last night was somewhat more upbeat than it was at an investors’ seminar two weeks ago and earlier this year, when he acknowledged that projected sales for 2013 would fall short of the targeted six percent.
“Our real internal growth has regained momentum and is broad-based across categories, price points and geographies. Most notably, Europe continues to grow and Asia and Africa have picked up speed,” Bulcke pointed out.
Overall sales were up four percent to $75.69 billion, slowed by negative foreign exchange of 2.5 percent, but aided by acquisitions of 2.1 percent. Nestlé’s business grew globally 1.1 percent in developed markets and 8.8 percent in emerging markets. Economic pressures in the Americas and Europe slowed growth, and although sales in emerging markets accelerated, Bulcke noted general economic slowdowns, local conflicts and civil disturbances in that zone were slowing it.
Nestlé’s confectionery business experienced 6.1 percent organic growth in the first three quarters of 2013 compared with 3.5 percent in 2012, with 2013 global sales of almost $8 million to date. The company reported growth and share increases in the Americas and strong showings in Europe and emerging markets.