LÉ, the world’s biggest food group, said weakening consumer sentiment in developed markets would make it harder to improve margins, but beat forecasts for the first nine months thanks to emerging markets.
Prices for key commodities such as coffee, grains, milk and sugar should remain high despite small recent falls, which will keep pressure on profit margins, the Swiss company said yesterday.
Underlying nine-month sales at the owner of brands such as Carnation, Maggi, Nescafe and Perrier, rose 7.3 per cent, compared with an analysts’ forecast for 7.1 per cent, and down from 7.5 per cent in the first half.
Chief executive Paul Bulcke said: “For the year as a whole, in spite of input cost pressures, we expect to slightly overperform against our long-term organic growth range of five to six per cent.
“We continue to strive for a margin improvement in constant currencies.”