Nestle cited "softness" in some emerging markets

Nestle cited "softness" in some emerging markets

Shares in Nestle fell today (18 April) after sales at the world's largest food maker slowed in the first quarter of the year.

Nestle reported a 4.3% rise in sales on an organic basis, which excludes M&A and foreign exchange. The result missed analyst expectations and was below the company's so-called "Nestle Model" for organic sales growth of 5-6%. In 2012, Nestle's organic sales were up 5.9%.

Nestle also uses a sales metric of "real internal growth", which strips out price increases. Sales by this measure were up 2.3% in the first quarter of 2013. Last year, sales under this criteria grew 3.1%.

The slowdown came amid weaker sales growth from Nestle's Asia, Oceania and Africa division. Nestle said there was "softness" in some of the emerging markets in these regions and pointed to "disruptive" events in the Middle East.

Group turnover was up 5.4% ay CHF21.9bn (US$23.52bn). CEO Paul Bulcke said Nestle was sticking to its full-year targets of a 5-6% increase in organic sales and an "improved" trading operating margin.

However, shares in Nestle were down 1.17% at CHF63.55 at 11:01 CET.

Click here for a flavour of how analysts viewed Nestle's Q1 sales.

Click here for our On the money coverage of Nestle's Q1 sales update.