We want to be in business not agony, says Nestle chief Paul Bulcke

We want to be in business not agony, says Nestle chief Paul Bulcke

“The shortlists are there and now the action has to come. The timelines have to be wise, but action will come,” he told a presentation to investors, stressing that managing the portfolio was a top priority.

Nestle’s performance in recent quarters has lagged some peers, in part because of the company’s mammoth size and multiple brands, from Gerber baby food to Perrier water to Nescafe coffee, to name only a few. The company posted Sfr92.2bn (£62.8bn) in annual sales last year and has Sfr203.81bn in market capitalisation.

Mr Bulcke said other priorities included structural efficiency and scaling back capital expenditure. Moving ahead, Nestle’s capital expenditure should be around 4pc to 5pc of sales, he said, below 2012’s 5.8pc.

After consumer goods rival Unilever warned on Monday of a sharper slowdown in its emerging markets, Mr Bulcke acknowledged that sales in the region were slower than before, but added that growth was more stable. A degree of slowdown was healthy, he said, given that the double-digit rates in some markets, like China, were unsustainable.

Mr Bulcke declined to comment on Nestle’s plans regarding its closely-watched 30pc stake in L’Oreal beyond repeating that all options were on the table. Restrictions on selling the stake expire in April.

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