Profit before tax at the Nestle Group was up 10.4% to SF9,684m on sales up 5.3% to SF89,160m for the year ended 31 December 2002.

Nestle's CEO Peter Brabeck said: "Achieving record levels in sales, EBITA, net profit and cash flow in Swiss francs in a period of currency headwinds, economic downturns and political uncertainty shows that we are on the right track. We have continued to improve performance, we have pursued our future-orientated investments and have seen new R&D driven sectors become significant businesses.

"We have also made strategic acquisitions as well as divestments and have been able to improve Nestle's position at the head of the food industry. In spite of political and economic turbulence and the continued strength of the Swiss franc, I am confident that in 2003 Nestle will be able to further improve its performance."