Nestlé has blamed currency fluctuations for a dip in profits in 2010 despite strong sales in emerging markets.

The Kit Kat and Nescafé maker raised £15.9bn last year from the sale of its stake in eyecare specialist Alcon. But excluding the impact of the Alcon sale, its profits dipped 7% to £6.3bn.

Like-for-like sales in food and beverages were up 3.7% in Europe and 5.7% in the Americas, while sales in emerging markets were up 11.5% over the year. Total sales for the group hit £71bn.

Nestlé predicted growth rates of 5% to 6% for the year ahead.

Chief executive Paul Bulcke hailed 2010 as “another year of strong top and bottom line growth”, pointing to increased investment in the company’s top brands.

He claimed Nestlé was well placed to cope with future market uncertainties created by volatile raw material prices.

But chief financial officer Jim Singh warned: “We saw a significant up-tick in raw material prices in the second half. I cannot tell you what the pricing will be. That depends on the different markets.”