Nestlé has reported a strong end to the financial year after a series of disappointing quarters.
The Swiss food giant reported organic growth of 5.2% in the fourth quarter of 2013 and 4.6% growth for the full-year. Full-year sales totalled CHF92.158bn.
It also reported an increase in its full-year trading operating profit margin of 20 basis points to 15.2%. Trading operating profit rose 4.3% to CHF14.047bn.
Nestlé typically forecasts 5%-6% organic growth, but looking ahead to 2014, it guided for growth of about 5%.
“Last year was challenging and 2014 will likely be the same,” said Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke.
“I therefore expect our 2014 performance to be similar to last year and again weighted to the second half, outperforming the market, with growth around 5% and improvements in margins, underlying earnings per share in constant currencies and capital efficiency.”
Some analysts were disappointed by the guidance, but others were encouraged by the improved fourth quarter trading figures.
“Overall it was a solid reporting, back to what we would expect from Nestlé… in-line or ahead on most major metrics,” said Bernstein analyst Andrew Wood.
Nestlé said its UK & Ireland business enjoyed a “strong performance in 2013”. Nescafé increased its share of the UK & Ireland coffee market by 1.7%, while sales of Nescafé Dolce Gusto pods climbed 32%.
It said the company’s UK confectionery brands delivered strong top-line growth. The star performer was Yorkie, which grew by 31.6% fuelled by a TV ad campaign and the launch of Yorkie ‘Man Sized Buttons’.
Nestlé also highlighted the strong sales of its Pure Life and Buxton water brands, which it said grew by 17% and 14.2% respectively.
“2013 was a challenging year but Nestlé UK & Ireland performed well in its core businesses of beverages, confectionery and food,” said Nestlé UK and Ireland CEO Fiona Kendrick.
Earlier in the week, Nestlé sold off an 8% stake in French cosmetics giant L’Oréal for €6.5bn (€5.4bn). As part of the deal, it took full control of skin treatment company Galderma, which was jointly owned with L’Oréal.