The chairman of Swiss food giant Nestlé has expressed his confidence that the company will improve its underlying 2003 performance but stressed it would not cut margins to achieve its own growth target.

“It is clear that we continue to face an unfavourable environment, especially in the currency sector,” chairman Rainer Gut was quoted as saying by Reuters.

“In these circumstances we will continue with the same priorities as in 2002 and we are confident that in constant currencies will be able to improve once more the group’s performance this year,” he added.

Regarding Nestlé’s attempts to buy Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream in the US, Gut said the company was still awaiting Federal Trade Commission approval.