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Nestle posts higher-than-expected first quarter growth

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The world's top packaged food maker Nestle on Friday posted better-than-expected growth in the first quarter despite currency exchange rates that hampered sales.

[ZURICH] The world's top packaged food maker Nestle on Friday posted better-than-expected growth in the first quarter despite currency exchange rates that hampered sales.

The company that markets Nespresso capsules, KitKat bars and Perrier water also confirmed it expected around five per cent growth this year.

It said sales rose 0.5 per cent to 20.9 billion Swiss francs (S$29 billion), adding that currency exchange rates, especially the strong Swiss franc, trimmed reported sales by 4.5 per cent.

But organic sales - the benchmark of Nestle's performance - rose 4.4 per cent, higher than the 4.1 per cent forecast by analysts polled by the Swiss financial news service AWP.

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"Our three-month sales growth was in line with expectations and driven by both real internal growth and pricing," Nestle chief Paul Bulcke said.

Sluggish 2014 sales in Asia, Africa and North America continued into the beginning of this year, a situation Bulcke pledged to rectify.

"We continued our efforts to restore momentum... and expect these initiatives to gain traction throughout the year," he said.

"Our full-year outlook is confirmed: we aim to achieve organic growth of around five per cent with improvements in margins, underlying earnings per share in constant currencies and capital efficiency."

AFP

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