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Nestlé upbeat about prospects for coming year

The Swiss food group, Nestlé, has given an upbeat assessment of its prospects for the coming year. It said 1999 sales were hard hit by currency fluctuations in Brazil, but that it was looking forward to continued growth in its bottled water division.

This content was published on March 15, 2000 - 19:36

The world's largest food group, Nestlé, has given an upbeat assessment of its prospects for the coming year. It said 1999 sales were hard hit by currency fluctuations in Brazil, but that it was looking forward to continued growth in its bottled water division.

In a letter to shareholders, Nestlé said it was "moderately optimistic" about its prospects for the current year.

The Vevey-based company was commenting on the group's record performance in 1999, when net profit rose by 12.3 per cent to SFr4.724 billion, on total sales of SFr74.660 billion.

Nestlé said 1999 had not been easy, chiefly because of the currency depreciation in Brazil, one of its most important markets.

"The fall of the Brazilian real pushed our consolidated sales down by nearly SFr1.5 billion," the group reported. Although it said this was somewhat offset by "the strength of the dollar and the yen".

The company recorded internal growth of 3.6 per cent, buoyed mainly by "excellent progress" in North America and in some Asian countries.

Looking ahead, Nestlé said it expected strong growth in Western Europe this year, where consumers had "at last" regained confidence.

In 1999, the company's most impressive advances were made outside the food division. Its bottled water business chalked up sales of 10 billion litres.

The company has high hopes for its water sales. Its launch of Nestlé Pure Life water with added minerals, has enjoyed success in both Pakistan and Brazil, and will be developed in other Third World countries this year.

swissinfo and agencies

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