ZURICH, April 18 (Reuters) - Nestle expects underlying sales growth to come in at the lower end of its guidance of 5-6 percent growth in 2013, its investor relations head told an investor call.
"We expect growth to be weighted towards the second half of the year," Roddy Child-Villiers said on Thursday.
"We expect it to come in at the lower end of our guidance."
Child-Villiers said growth was expected to pick up in Asia, Oceania and Africa (AOA) during the year as the supply chain in the Middle East, partly disrupted by the destruction of a factory in Syria, should be restored.
Sales continued to grow at a double-digit rate in China and will get another boost from Nestle's acquisition of Pfizer's baby food business, which is not contained in current figures, Child-Villiers said.
He said Nestle was aiming to increase its dividend in Swiss francs each year.