Emerging markets give Nestle a Q3 sales boost

GENEVA -- Strong growth in emerging markets helped Swiss food and drink giant Nestle SA post an 11 percent increase in sales for the first nine months of 2012.

The Vevey-based group said Thursday that sales rose to 67.6 billion Swiss francs ($73.3 billion) through September, up from 60.9 billion francs in the same period last year.

With 11.7 percent growth in emerging markets and 2.4 percent growth in developed markets, the maker of Nescafe instant coffee, Jenny Craig weight loss products and Haagen-Dazs ice cream said it expects organic sales growth of 6.1 percent this year.

The company kept up the growth despite a global economy that has been weighed down by Europe's chronic debt crisis and sluggish American growth. It also maintained its full-year outlook, despite the tough trading conditions.

"We grew in the intensely competitive developed markets in spite of a general economic malaise and low levels of consumer confidence," said Nestle Chief Executive Paul Bulcke.

He said the success in less-developed markets is due to the company "expanding our routes to market and enhancing our product offerings".

With that success and lowered costs for its raw materials, he added that Nestle's "continued momentum in real internal growth, combined with some easing of input cost pressures, allows us to confirm our full-year outlook."