BUSINESS

Nestle net profit, sales down slightly in first half of year

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

PARIS (AP) — Food and drinks giant Nestle says sales and net profit declined slightly in the first half due to currency fluctuations and a recall of Maggi noodles in India.

The Swiss company behind Nescafe, Stouffer's, Haagen Dazs and Perrier said Thursday that sales drifted to 42.843 billion Swiss francs (39.3 billion euro) from 42.981 billion a year earlier. Net profit fell 2.5 percent to 4.517 billion francs.

Revenues were dented by appreciation of the Swiss currency and the withdrawal of Maggi noodles in India earlier this year after government tests found lead above legal levels. The Indian government is seeking damages from Nestle India, accusing it of unfair trade practices and false labeling, an official said Wednesday.

Nestle pointed to "gradual improvement" in emerging markets, but said that progress was overshadowed by the issue in India.

"In India, our withdrawal of Maggi noodles resulted in negative organic growth which will continue into the second half," a company statement said. "We are engaging fully with the authorities as we work to re-launch the product."

CEO Paul Bulcke said in the statement that the first-half results were "solid even in difficult circumstances" and that Nestle S.A. was confirming its outlook for growth in the full year.