Nestle confirms guidance as third-quarter growth ticks up

Nestle and its peers are trying to boost performance by cutting costs, shedding underperformers and diversifying into premium and health foods. (Reuters)
Updated 18 October 2018
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Nestle confirms guidance as third-quarter growth ticks up

  • Packaged food companies are struggling to adjust to consumers’ growing appetite for fresh, local foods
  • Nestle’s organic sales, which strip out currency swings and acquisitions, rose 2.9 percent in the third quarter

ZURICH: Food group Nestle confirmed it wants to grow sales by around 3 percent this year after it reported on Thursday improved trading in North America and infant nutrition had pushed up underlying sales in the third quarter.
Packaged food companies are struggling to adjust to consumers’ growing appetite for fresh, local foods, and Nestle and its peers are trying to boost performance by cutting costs, shedding underperformers and diversifying into premium and health foods.
“We are starting to see improved momentum in North America and in our infant nutrition category globally. Our business in China continued to grow at a mid-single digit pace,” Chief Executive Mark Schneider said in a statement on Thursday.
Nestle’s organic sales, which strip out currency swings and acquisitions, rose 2.9 percent in the third quarter, in line with forecasts in a Reuters poll. They were up 2.8 percent in the first nine months.
The maker of KitKat chocolate bars and Nescafe instant coffee also announced that Wan Ling Martello, currently head of the company’s zone Asia Oceania Sub-Saharan Africa (AOA), was leaving the company and would be replaced by Chris Johnson, currently head of group human resources and business services, on January 1.
Martello, who was chief financial officer before taking over zone AOA, was among the potential candidates to take over the CEO role at Nestle before company outsider Mark Schneider was appointed two years ago.
Peer Danone said on Wednesday that slacker demand for baby food in China and a consumer boycott in Morocco slowed third-quarter sales growth.


Bahrain to use Huawei in 5G rollout despite US warnings

Updated 26 March 2019
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Bahrain to use Huawei in 5G rollout despite US warnings

  • Washington has warned countries against using Chinese technology
  • ‘We have no concern at this stage as long as this technology is meeting our standards’

DUBAI: Bahrain plans to roll out a commercial 5G mobile network by June, partly using Huawei technology despite the United States’ concerns the Chinese telecom giant’s equipment could be used for spying.
Washington has warned countries against using Chinese technology, saying Huawei could be used by Beijing to spy on the West. China and Huawei have strongly rejected the allegations.
VIVA Bahrain, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian state-controlled telecoms firm STC, last month signed an agreement to use Huawei products in its 5G network, one of several Gulf telecoms companies working with the Chinese company.
“We have no concern at this stage as long as this technology is meeting our standards,” Bahrain’s Telecommunications Minister Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed told Reuters on Tuesday when asked about US concerns over Huawei technology.
A senior State Department official said the US routinely urges allies and partners to consider the risks posed by vendors subject to extrajudicial or unchecked compulsion by foreign states.
The US Fifth Fleet uses its base in Bahrain, a Western-allied island state off the Saudi coast, to patrol several important shipping lanes, including near Iran.
Bahrain expects to be one of the first countries to make 5G available nationwide, Mohammed said, although he cautioned it would depend on handset and equipment availability.
Early movers like the United States, China, Japan and South Korea are just starting to roll out their 5G networks, but other regions, such as Europe, are still years away and the first 5G phones are only likely to be released in the second half of this year.
Bahrain’s state-controlled operator Batelco is working with Sweden’s Ericsson on its 5G network, while the country’s third telecoms group Zain Bahrain is yet to announce a technology provider.
No foreign company is restricted by the government from providing equipment for Bahrain’s 5G network, Mohammed said, adding mobile operators choose who they work with.
Australia and New Zealand have stopped operators using Huawei equipment in their networks but the European Union is expected to ignore US calls to ban the Chinese company, instead urging countries to share more data to tackle cybersecurity risks related to 5G networks.
Mohammed said the rollout of the 5G network was an “important milestone” for Bahrain, which is hoping investments in technology will help spur its economy, which was hit hard by a recent drop in oil prices.
“It is something we are proud to have,” he said.