, GENEVE, October 16- The world’s leading food industry group Nestle on Thursday posted slumping nine-month sales, blaming the strength of the Swiss franc, as its stock price plunged.
During the first nine months of the year, the maker of Nespresso capsules and baby food, among many other products, said its sales ticked in at 66.2 billion Swiss francs (55.1 billion euros, $70.2 billion).
That marked a drop of 3.1 percent from the figure for the same period last year, and missed the expectations of analysts polled by AWP, who had anticipated sales of 66.7 billion Swiss francs.
The company stressed though that “negative foreign exchange” had taken a heavy toll on its sales, eroding them by 7.5 percent, while divestitures and acquisitions had further reduced its sales growth by 0.1 percent.
The company’s organic growth, considered a key indicator of its performance, meanwhile expanded 4.5 percent, the company said.
That number, which was based on 2.3 percent real internal growth, with the remaining 2.2 percent owing to pricing, also slightly missed analyst expectations of 4.6 percent.
“In a volatile global trading environment where there are no tailwinds, we achieved good broad-based growth,” company chief Paul Bulcke said in the earnings statement.
Despite the tough environment, though, he stressed that the company was confirming its full year organic growth forecast of around five precent.
Following the news, the company saw its share price slump 2.3 percent in mid-morning trading to 65.40 Swiss francs a piece, as the Swiss stock exchange’s main index fell just 0.65 percent.