VEVEY, Switzerland: Nestlé has announced better-than-expected sales figures for first quarter sales, confirming its decision to boost its nutritional products division. Sales rose 6.4% to SFr24.3 billion ($20.1bn; €14.8bn; £10bn) versus the same period a year earlier.

The nutritional division, which has just inked a deal to buy babyfood business Gerber Products Company [WARC News: 13-Apr-07], reached its forecast growth track and will account for around 10% of group sales.

Says Peter Brabeck, chairman/ceo of the globe's largest food manufacturer: "Nestlé is off to a strong start."

The figures showed a recovery at the company's European confectionery business, where sales had been sluggish in its key UK market. Confectionery sales climbed by 7.3%, helped by a successful Easter season.

Organic sales in the company's Asia, Oceania and Africa division rose by more than 10%.

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff