Swiss food giant Nestlé has reported 2002 net profit of CHF7.56bn (US$5.5bn), up 13.2% year-on-year.

The company’s 2002 sales increased 5.3% year-on-year to CHF89.16bn.

 Core sales growth was 3.4%, short of Nestlé’s 4% target but generally in line with expectations.

Chief executive Peter Brabeck said Nestlé would increase its profit margins this year but that it was too early to say whether the company would reach its long-term annual core growth target of 4% in 2003.

Brabeck said he expected a slowdown in acquisition activity in 2003, but that he was confident Nestlé’s planned acquisition of US-based Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream would go ahead.