Thursday, February 27, 2003 - Nestle Profits Rise 13 Percent in 2002
By Associated Press
February 27, 2003, 8:44 AM EST
"VEVEY, Switzerland -- Food and drinks giant Nestle said Thursday its profit rose 13 percent in 2002 on a 5.3 percent sales increase and said it would boost its dividend.

The owner of Stouffers prepared meals, Taster's Choice coffee, Perrier water and Carnation powdered milk earned 7.56 billion Swiss francs ($5.45 billion) last year, up from 6.68 billion francs a year earlier.

Sales rose to 89.16 billion Swiss francs ($64.3 billion) from 84.76 billion francs in 2001.

The profits were slightly below analysts' expectations and in early trading in Zurich, Nestle shares were down 1.5 percent at 264 francs ($195.6).

But the company said it would propose a dividend of 7 francs ($5.18), up from 6.40 francs last year.

Nestle said net profit was influenced by a number of onetime items, including the partial flotation of ophthalmic goods specialist Alcon and the sale to Givaudan of savory flavors business Food Ingredients Specialities. At the same time, the company incurred expenses relating to restructuring and to impairments of goodwill, plants and equipment."