Despite the negative impact of a strong Swiss franc Swiss food group Nestle this week reported a net profit increase of 15.9 per cent to SFr6 681 million (E4 524m) from the previous year, setting a new net margin record of 7.9 per cent.
Sales for 2001 of SFr84 698 million (E57 356m) were an increase of 4 per cent over thepreceding year.
In a news conference this week, a content Peter Brabeck, CEO of Nestle, said: "Even in a turbulent year, the group has delivered healthy, excellent growth and performance. In addition, we have further strengthened the bases of our business by investing in marketing, in R&D and in adapting our structures to ensure Nestles long-term growth and operational performance. I am thereforeconfident that in 2002 we can again meet our target of sustainable value creation."
The trading profit reached SFr9 218 million, resulting in a margin of 10.9 per cent of sales. EBITA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes and Amortisation)improved to SFr9 713 million. Net profit was up 15.9 per cent to SFr6 681 million, setting a new net margin record of 7.9 per cent. Shareholders will no doubt be happy with an increase of 16 per cent with earnings per share rising from SFr14.91 to SFr17.25.
At the same time as stating the financial results, Nestle took the opportunity to announce the purchase of Brazilian chocolate and confectionery manufacturer Garoto in Vila Velha, Espirito Santo. The company operates twoplants with a staff of over 2,500 peopleand generates yearly sales of slightly more than SFr310 million. Nestle claims that this acquisition will strengthen the company's position on the chocolate market in northern Brazil and gives it access to acomplementary range of products.