Nestle, the world's biggest food and beverage group, on August 11 posted a 7.5% increase in first-half net profit as it braced for a more challenging period in the coming months.
Net profit for the first six months of the year reached 5.5 billion Swiss francs (US$5.2 billion), the group said.
Income grew strongest in the Asia, Oceania and Africa region, up 11.7%, followed by the Americas at 7.2% Sales in Europe remained stagnant, however. Sales in Europe, Nestle's second biggest market after the Americas, continued to lag behind the rest of the world, with an increase of 2.5%.
Overall sales totaled 55.3 billion francs, up 5.7%.
"We have increased investment in our brands, people and capabilities and have prepared the company for a more challenging second half," chief executive Paul Bulcke said.
Nestle maintained its target of organic growth averaging 5.3% over the full year, below the accelerating growth rate of 6.3% achieved in the first half.
The group said it had taken advantage of a deeper distribution and the roll out of cheaper products in emerging nations, where it posted 10% growth in its business.
However, Nestle said sales of bottled water in developed nations had returned to growth after falling consumption over a couple of years under the pressure of environmental concerns in Europe and North America. Bottled water sales in emerging nations continued to boom with near 20% organic growth.
Nestle's coffee capsule business, which is set to face growing competition, grew by 25% with sales of more than three billion Swiss francs.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010