ZURICH - Nestle, the world's biggest food group, reiterated on Monday its target for 2009 organic sales growth at least approaching 5 percent although it said performance would be weighted to the second half.
In slides of a presentation for an investor seminar, Nestle Chief Executive Paul Bulcke and Chief Financial Officer Jim Singh also repeated guidance for a rise in the earnings before interest and tax margin in constant currencies.
The environment is tough, but there are opportunities, they said in the presentation, adding that Nestle's struggling bottled water business had seen some improvement in North America although western Europe was unchanged.
Nestle, which is due to report first-half results on Aug. 10, reported organic sales growth, which strips out currency effects and acquisitions, of 3.8 percent in the first quarter.
Meanwhile Laurent Freixe, head of Nestle in Europe, said he saw commodities and foreign exchange markets stabilising.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel, he said in a webcast presentation. The situation will continue to improve.
The maker of Nescafe coffee, KitKat chocolate bars and Maggi soup reported first-quarter sales fell 2.1 percent to 25.2 billion Swiss francs ($23.16 billion), undershooting forecasts due to a strong Swiss franc. ($1=1.088 Swiss Franc) (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Hans Peters)