Low consumer confidence in Europe will remain a drag on profits for Nestle , chief executive Paul Bulcke told CNBC on Thursday after the world's biggest food group said it expected 2013 to be as challenging as 2012.
"Europe is depressed, it's going to take time, years [to recover]. We have two dimensions in Europe and the southern part of Europe is really hard hit and it will take longer [to recover] so confidence is low and growth is reflecting that," Bulcke told CNBC.
Underlying sales growth at the maker of KitKat chocolate bars and Maggi soup came in at 5.9 percent for the year, meeting average analyst expectations, and implying a slight recovery from just 5 percent third-quarter growth.
Despite the earnings being at the upper-end of its own guidance the figures reveal the slowest annual sales growth in three years. Shares have dropped 2.1 percent since the figures were released.