Mead Johnson has dismissed any suggestions Nestle will prove to be formidable competition in China following the Swiss food group’s acquisition of Pfizer’s baby food business.
Stephen Golsby, president and CEO of Mead Johnson, was sanguine about the impact Nestle’s acquisition of Pfizer’s Wyeth business could have on China’s infant nutrition market
“I don’t think it changes the landscape dramatically. We compete with [Nestle] around the world and I would like to think we do so successfully,” he told the Consumer Analyst Group of Europe conference in London yesterday (20 March).
Golbsy said Mead Johnson had an advantage due to its focus on one sector.
“Nestle is a very fine company but they are a very different company to what we are. It’s not always an advantage to be bigger. We need to be faster because we only do one thing. We need to be better at it, better at the science and better at understanding the consumer and stakeholders.”
Golsby added: “Never look at this and think, why we are competing against these much larger companies and we can’t win? I think we can win, precisely because we are smaller than these companies.”
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The chief executive said the firm’s “highest priority” was growing the business and returning cash to shareholders either through dividends or share buy backs.
“We intend to increase our investment funded by higher gross margins. We’re a global leader in paediatric nutrition, we have a history of innovation and we will continue to invest behind our brands.”