Asia Pacific leads growth in record year for Nestlé

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nestlé

Nestlé's Asia pacific operations led record growth in its full year
2006 results published today, as the company continues to increase
its focus on the global health and well being food sector.

Though currently the smallest of Nestle's three regional markets for sales, the Asia, Oceania and Africa segment lead in terms of organic growth for the year at 7.9 per cent. The performance helped the company to an unprecedented profit growth of 13.8 per cent in 2006, to €5.6bn. The company pointed to particularly strong performances in emerging markets like China and India - which both saw double digit growth - as a indication of the growing opportunities for processors in the region. These opportunities helped the company see organic growth throughout its ranges, with its culinary, chocolate, shelf-stable dairy and pow-dered beverage brands in particular performing well. Though its food and beverage brands dominated much of its results, the company's Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe attributed the strong performance to innovation in health and nutrition. "2006 was another record year for Nestlé,"​ he said. "We are seeing the benefits of the group's transformation into a nutrition, health and wellness company, with stronger innovation and branding, as well as improved efficiency." ​ The groups growing health focus, pushed by its nutrition subsidiary was another part of its Asian Pacific success. The company noted that it had been disappointed by China's performance in nutrition growth, which held back Asia's overall performance in the sector. Its strengthened role in the health food sector was aided by gains in its infant nutrition operations - in which it is already global leader - though this was again held back by decreasing margins. The strong performance across Nestlé's operations matched the group's confident outlook for the coming year. Having taken into account the increased costs for raw materials, and heightened investment in its brands and research and development, the company still expects organic growth of around 5 per cent - 6 per cent. This the group adds will further cement its burgeoning reputation as a company leading the health and nutrition boom in the food industry.

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