Nestlé, the world's largest food group, has reported a 12.7 rise in first-half net income, driven by a six per cent increase in sales. The company, based in Vevey on Lake Geneva, said it expected full year earnings and sales to be higher than the record performance of 2000.
The world's largest food concern saw its profit for the first half of the year expand to SFr3.152 billion ($1.9 billion) on sales of SFr41.2 billion. The company's operating profit however, rose a more modest 0.4 per cent to SFr4.315 billion.
The increase in sales beat easily beat analysts' forecasts. The company attributed growth to a strong performance in Asia, Oceania and Africa, and said sales of bottled water and pharmaceutical products had been particularly good.
"Based on the half-year results, with strong top-line and bottom-line growth, I am confident that Nestlé will close 2001 with higher sales and profits than the ones reached in the record 2000," said chief executive, Peter Brabeck.
Nestlé also said that its SFr16.6 billion ($10 billion) acquisition of US pet food company, Ralston Purina, was on track to close before the end of the year.
The European Union has already given its approval to the deal conditional on several divestments to comply with competition rules. The US regulatory authorities have yet to give it the green light.
swissinfo with agencies