The planet’s largest food company Nestlé, headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland, on Thursday announced a thirteen percent rise in net profit, up from SF6.68 billion in 2001 to SF7.56bn ($5.60bn ; €5.17bn; £3.53bn) last year.

Sales rose 5.3% to SF89.16bn, while EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax depreciation and amortization) improved 9.5% year-on-year to SF10.94bn, returning a margin of 12.3% (11.8% in 2001).

The results were influenced by certain one-off events, among them the partial IPO of Alcon and the disposal of Food Ingredients Specialities. In the red column were charges for restructuring and impairments both of goodwill and plants/equipment. The notoriously clamlike company declined to disclose further details of the charges.

It did, however, reveal that North America and Brazil recorded sales growth above the level achieved in 2001, while sales in Japan, Mexico and Argentina felt the general economic chill. Greater China exceeded SF1.4bn in sales.

There was accelerated growth in Europe including Russia – although only in H2 – with Nestlé’s largest European market, France, more than doubling its expansion in 2001.

Nestlé expects to continue to improve its performance in 2003.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff