Nestle is expected to post a strong year-end performance following a weaker first half when the world's largest food company delivers its fourth quarter and full year results before the Zurich stock market opens tomorrow (19 February).

Nestle delivered a decline in sales for the first nine months of the year in October. Net revenues were hit by the strength of the Swiss franc and lower unit prices, which aimed to shore up volumes in the wake of the economic downturn. Organic revenue growth also missed the food maker's target of about 5%, coming in at 3.6%.

However, according to analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein, Nestle is likely to book an “accelerating operating performance” boosted by lower commodity costs and increased marketing activity – which is expected to result in stronger organic growth.

In a note released yesterday, the analysts predicted fourth-quarter organic sales growth of 5%. Consensus estimates put organic revenue expansion at 4.9%.

“As we have seen from Nestle’s European Food peers, we expect positive momentum on RIG and organic growth in Q4 after the slow start to the year. However, contrary to those same peers, we expect to see still positive pricing from Nestle,” the analysts wrote.

“We believe that Nestle is the strongest and most balanced company in the European Food group. We have seen excellent operating results from Nestlé in recent years and we expect this to continue into the medium-term. We expect Nestlé to be top-of-class, or close to it,” Sanford Bernstein concluded.