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Nestlé turns profit but sees sales drop

Swiss food giant Nestlé has announced a 1.5 per cent drop in its sales to SFr52.3 billion ($48.3 billion) for the first six months of 2009, compared with 2008 figures.

The multinational reported a net profit of SFr5.1 billion, which amounts to 9.7 per cent of sales.

Nestlé said sales were affected by divestitures and a strong Swiss franc. However, the company said it achieved 3.5 per cent organic growth and the group’s EBIT grew to SFr7.4 billion.

“With 3.5 per cent organic growth and a 30 basis point EBIT margin improvement, Nestlé delivered a combination of growth and increased profitability in the first half of the year, and this in a very challenging business environment,” commented Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke in a news release.

Bulcke added that the “healthy cash flow” in the first half of the year enabled Nestlé to return SFr6.5 billion to shareholders.

The world’s largest food and drink company also announced that it completed the first stage of its SFr25 billion share buyback programme, amounting to SFr15 billion, on July 28.

A second stage, worth SFr10 billion, will begin on Thursday. and agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR