The Nestle Group's consolidated sales reached CHF 59.5 billion during the first nine months of 2000, up 9.5 percent over the period January-September 1999. This confirms the generally good perspectives for the full year 2000. At comparable structure and constant exchange rates, sales growth amounts to 4.9 percent. Cumulative real internal growth at the end of September stood at 4.2 percent, even though the comparison basis was clearly more difficult than during the first semester. As expected, exchange rates had a slightly lower positive impact of 5.7 percent, while divestitures, net of acquisitions, lowered the consolidated sales by 1.1 percent. Nestle succeeded in making the necessary price adjustments amounting to 0.7 percent of turnover.European sales were strongly affected by the divestiture of the Findus operation (with annual sales of about CHF 900 million), as well as by the weakening of minus 1.8 percent of the Euro against the Swiss franc. Sales in the Americas benefitted from exceptionally strong performance in Mexico and a recovery in most Latin American economies. Zone Asia, Oceania and Africa registered continuing good growth in virtually all areas. Most product groups performed well, with especially strong growth in soluble coffees in Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America. The water business also grew strongly, notwithstanding adverse environmental impacts (weather conditions in Europe and forest fires in the US). In the culinary sector, chilled products and frozen prepared dishes developed satisfactorily. Milks and nutrition saw good progress, mainly as a result of infant nutrition sales in Asia and of the powdered milk business. Chocolate and confectionery showed a welcome improvement, thanks mainly to Eastern Europe. Pharmaceuticals also experienced strong growth. Based on the figures available at this time, Nestle is confident of its ability to maintain a good growth rate both in sales and in profits for the full year 2000.