April 20 - Nestle, the world's biggest food group, reported forecast-beating first-quarter organic sales growth of 7.2 percent as emerging market demand and price rises helped offset sluggish growth in the developed world. Ciara Sutton reports.
Switzerland's Nestle is beating forecasts with its latest results thanks to surging sales in emerging markets. Already responsible for over 40 percent of sales at the world's largest food group, emerging markets grew 13 percent in the first quarter. Comparitively, growth in developed countries was just over three percent. So while overall organic sales growth beat forecasts, the company is warning 2012 will be a tough year. Nestle says high commodity prices are still problematic and is predicting a full year outlook of 5-6 percent organic growth. The company's shares were down half a percent at midday after hitting an all time high a day earlier. On Thursday, Nestle's French rival Danone reported better-than-expected sales growth of 6.9 percent as markets improved in Russia and the U.S. But Danone, is the most exposed food group to the euro zone debt crisis, and is warning that the economic climate in Spain would hit the full year results. Ciara Sutton, Reuters