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Nestle reports 3 per cent sales drop but steady organic growth despite strong Swiss franc

GENEVA – Nestle S.A., the world’s biggest food and drink company, on Thursday reported a 3-per cent drop in group sales for the first nine months of the year, impacted by weakness in currencies against the Swiss franc and other costs.

The Vevey, Switzerland-based company said it had sales of 66.2 billion francs, down from 68.35 billion francs in the same period a year ago, which also reflects weak consumer spending. But Nestle said it had 4.5 per cent organic sales growth, which does not reflect acquisitions and currency fluctuations.

CEO Paul Bulcke said Thursday the outlook for the full year remains about 5 per cent organic growth with improvement in margins, underlying earnings per share when measured in constant exchange rates and capital efficiency.

The company said the strong Swiss franc, which the nation has sought to weaken, had a “substantial negative foreign exchange” impact of 7.5 per cent on sales. It doesn’t report earnings for the nine-month period.

But the results from the maker of Nescafe, Perrier, Jenny Craig and Haagen Dazs showed growth in all regions, particularly emerging markets.

“In a volatile global trading environment where there are no tail winds, we achieved good broad-based growth,” Bulcke said.