The Nescafé-to-Perrier food and beverages company – the world’s largest – yesterday announced a 34.6% increase in first half profits to SFr2.80bn ($1.61bn) against SFr2.08bn last year. Consolidated sales grew 9.9% to SFr38.8bn.

However, Nestlé urged caution against basing future expectations on the same growth rates: "The basis of comparison for the second half of the year, both in terms of sales growth and currency effects, will be less favourable," it warned.

Nevertheless, Nestlé expressed confidence that performance improvements for the full year would be achieved, barring any significant unforeseen events, and that 2000 would bring higher sales and profits than 1999.

All regions and activities had contributed to real internal growth, with improvements in food sales particularly noticeable in in Eastern Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, and Latin America (excepting Brazil). North America and Western Europe both showed moderate sales growth while bottled water and pharmaceuticals added significantly to sales growth.

Nestlé shares rose 3% to SFr3,681.5 following the announcement.

News source: Financial Times