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Nestle sales fall on strong franc

ZURICH, Apr 15 – Swiss food giant Nestle said Friday its first quarter sales fell 9.3 percent to 20.3 billion francs (15.7 billion euros, $22.7 billion), hit by the strong Swiss franc and costs arising from its sale of eyecare group Alcon.

"Sales were impacted by -9.8 percent from foreign exchange and by -5.9 percent from divestitures net of acquisitions," the group said in a statement.

The world\’s biggest food company also noted that the first three months of the year was marked by "high-impact events ranging from civil unrest and natural disasters to extreme volatility in raw material prices."

Nevertheless, Nestle said it would be able to meet its full year target of organic growth of between 5 and 6 percent.

The group reported in February that its 2010 net profits more than trebled to 34.2 billion francs on the sale of eyecare group Alcon to Swiss pharmaceutical group Novartis.

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