24.4.2003: Meldung: Nestlé: 4.6% Organic Growth In First Quarter

Nestlé: 4.6% Organic Growth In First Quarter

Vevey, April 23, 2003
• Group-wide organic growth of 4.6%
• 6.3% sales increase at constant exchange rates
• Swiss franc sales down 7.5% as a result of a 13.8% negative foreign exchange impact
Peter Brabeck, CEO of Nestlé, said: "Our overall organic growth of 4.6% in a difficult quarter, aggravated by late Easter, is mainly due to our successful drive for innovation and our strong market positions. Our consolidated sales clearly took a hit from the strong Swiss franc, but we expect this effect to taper off in the course of the year. We are confident that the rest of the year will bring an acceleration of growth and that we will therefore achieve our stated objective of improving the Group"s performance in constant currencies for 2003."
Vevey, April 23, 2003 - The Nestlé Group"s consolidated sales for the first three months of 2003 amounted to CHF 19.7 billion. In constant currencies, sales increased by 6.3%, reflecting organic growth of 4.6% (real internal growth 2.5%, pricing and others 2.1%), as well as a small contribution from acquisitions, net of divestitures. As a result of the strong Swiss franc, the adverse foreign exchange effect was 13.8%.

Foreign exchange factor held back consolidated sales, and real internal growth was impacted by the late Easter date and the competitive situation in Japan. Additionally, in keeping with the Group"s policy of ensuring margin improvements, Nestlé raised prices in several product categories to reflect cost increases. Nevertheless, the Group expects its strong brands, its broad distribution network and its capacity for innovation to lead to an improvement in sales growth as the year goes on.
Sales by Management Responsibilities and Geographic Area
Jan.-March Jan.-March Organic Growth RIG
2003 2002 Jan.-March 2003 Jan.-March 2003
in CHF million % %
Zone Europe 6"778 6"628 +1.8 -0.4
Zone Americas 5"978 7"154 +4.8 +1.9
Zone Asia, Oceania and Africa 3"291 3"633 +3.2 +1.9
Nestlé Waters 1"719 1"740 +10.9 +10.7
Other Activities * 1"947 2"156 +9.4 +8.4
Total 19"713 21"311 +4.6 +2.5
* Mainly pharmaceutical products, joint-ventures and "Trinks" Germany

The growth rate in Western Europe reflects the importance of chocolate and ice cream to that Zone, both of which were impacted by the late Easter date. There should be some improvement, therefore, in the first half. Canada and the US performed well, but there was some slowness in Latin America. Importantly, however, the key markets of Brazil and Mexico both achieved positive RIG and organic growth. Most Asian markets are growing at a good rate, with Greater China outperforming its ambitious target of double-digit RIG. In Japan measures were taken to improve the quality of sales in the ready-to-drink business. The water business and Alcon again delivered good growth, capitalizing on their leadership positions in their respective markets.
Sales by Product Group
Jan.-March Jan.-March Real Internal Growth
2003 2002 Jan.-March 2003
in CHF million %
Beverages 5"162 5"449 +6.0
Milk/Nutrition/Ice Cream 4"865 5"489 +1.1
Culinary 3"856 3"789 +3.4
Chocolate/Confectionery 2"365 2"623 -1.7
PetCare 2"257 2"653 -0.4
Pharma 1"208 1"308 +6.2
Total 19"713 21"311 +2.5

Among the product groups, beverages, especially soluble coffee and coffee mixes under the Nescafé brand, and powdered beverages, under brands such as Milo and Nesquik, did well, as did the specialty roast & ground coffees. There was good progress also in the chilled and the frozen culinary sector; the recently acquired Chef America achieved double-digit growth. The performance of chocolate and confectionery was impacted by the late Easter, as well as by price increases.

Nestlé also expects the foreign exchange situation to improve in the coming months, especially as the weakening of the major currencies vis-à-vis the Swiss franc started in the second half of 2002. While 2003 will clearly be a challenging year, the Group is well placed to further improve its organic growth rate. Nestlé will continue to focus on margin and further cash flow improvements, pursuing its policy of long-term profitable growth. Barring major unforeseen events, the Nestlé Group expects to continue to improve its performance in constant currencies in 2003.
Media: François-Xavier Perroud Tel.: +41-21-924 2596
Investors: Roddy Child-Villiers Tel.: +41-21-924 3622
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