by eggplant in Hospitality / Tourism / Retail
Shares in Switzerland’s Nestlé rose on Thursday after better sales in the US and China helped chief executive Mark Schneider pep up the performance of the world’s largest food and drinks group. The company behind brands such as KitKat, Perrier water and Nescafé coffee reported total sales in the first six months of 2018 had increased 2.8% on an organic, or like-for-like, basis compared with 2.3 % in the same period a year earlier. The pick-up would have been almost 3% without the impact of a protracted truckers’ strike in Brazil. Analysts had expected 2.5% growth. Nestlé’s growth fell in 2017 to the slowest in more than two decades amid shifting consumer trends, slow global economic growth and deflationary price pressures. Adding to the pressure on Mr. Schneider, Third Point — the US activist hedge fund founded by Daniel Loeb — invested USD 3.5 billion in a 1.25% stake in the Swiss group. Earlier this month, Third Point complained Nestlé still had a “muddled strategic approach” and remained “insular, complacent and bureaucratic”. However, Mr. Schneider said the first-half results showed that “our strategic initiatives and rigorous execution are clearly paying off . . . In particular, the US and China markets showed a meaningful improvement”.