Sales growth eases at Nestle as demand cools in Asian markets

City A.M. Reporter
NESTLE’S sales growth slowed more than expected in the first nine months of the year as demand cooled in the emerging markets driving the world’s biggest food company.

Underlying sales growth at the maker of KitKat chocolate bars and Maggi soup slowed to 6.1 per cent from 6.6 per cent in the first half.

Growth in Asia, Oceania and Africa, which accounted for about one fifth of sales, fell to 9.4 per cent from 11.6 per cent.

Strong emerging market demand has been helping Nestle and rival Unilever buck a more negative trend set by its French and US peers Danone and Procter & Gamble. Unilever reports results on 25 October.

Speaking at a news conference in Shanghai, Nestle chief executive Paul Bulcke said there was some nervousness about emerging markets, noting that China was not meeting potential. But he was optimistic for its future growth.

The Chinese economy grew by 7.4 per cent in the third quarter, data showed earlier yesterday, a sharp slowdown from previous years.

Nestle’s growth in Europe slowed to 1.9 per cent from 2.4 per cent and was steady in the Americas region at 5.5 per cent.