Nestlé sales for the first three months of 2000 were CHF 18.5 billion, an increase of 11 percent over the corresponding period of the previous year. At comparable structure and constant exchange rates, the increase amounted to 4.5 percent. Real internal growth, i.e. the increase in quantities sold at last year's prices, excluding exchange rate effects and the impact of acquisitions and divestitures, improved and stands at 3.8 percent for the first three months. It was 3.6 percent for the full year 1999.
The growth stems from most geographic regions, with particularly noticeable increases in Asia, Eastern Europe and several South American countries. The joint ventures, Alcon and the water business contributed also to the good real internal growth. Foreign exchange rates had a positive effect of 8.1 percent on consolidated sales. All of the Group's major billing currencies strengthened vs. the Swiss franc. Selling price adaptations and other elements account for 0.7 percent of the sales increase while divestitures (mainly the Findus frozen food business and Roast & Ground coffee in the US), net of acquisitions, reduced consolidated sales by 1.5 percent.
The Group's rate of growth in sales and volumes is on track and, barring unforeseen events on the exchange rate front, Nestlé expects to end the year with higher sales and profits. Mario A. Corti, Nestlé CFO, will host a conference call on the sales at 0900 CET via Vcall (http://www.vcall.com/). This will be available for 90 days as an archive at the same site.