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Nestlé becomes global top three consumer company

Vevey-based Nestlé remains the top food company ahead of its rival Unilever Keystone

Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, has moved into the top three of a worldwide ranking of consumer product companies, according to a report compiled by business advisory firm Deloitte.

The seventh annual Global Powers of Consumer Products report, which ranks consumer products companies by their 2012 sales, puts Samsung of South Korea first, followed by Apple of the United States. Both companies benefited as demand for electronic products rebounded.

Deloitte also said it expects merger and acquisition transactions to pick up in 2014 as concerns over economic uncertainty begin to recede. Improved credit availability, low interest rates, improved capital markets and “sizable” cash reserves would drive deals, Deloitte said.

Vevey-based Nestlé, the largest consumer products company in Europe, for example, increased sales 10% to CHF92.2 billion ($104 billion) in 2012, boosted by the $11.9 billion acquisition of a nutrition business from Pfizer. Nestlé moved ahead of Japan’s Panasonic, whose sales declined 6.9% in 2012, according to Deloitte.

Other Swiss companies in the Top 250 are watchmakers Swatch Group, which finished in position 95, and Rolex  in 151st place, as well as dairy company Emmi ranked 237. Swatch ranks fifth and Rolex ninth in the watch manufacturing sector.

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