Nestle confirms outlook, launches 8 bln Sfr buyback

ZURICH Thu Aug 7, 2014 1:26am EDT

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ZURICH Aug 7 (Reuters) - Food group Nestle stood by its full-year outlook on Thursday and said it would launch an 8 billion Swiss franc share buyback after sales growth picked up in the second quarter.

Food groups are facing tough conditions as demand in emerging markets slows and prices in developed markets decline.

Anglo-Dutch rival Unilever blamed a slowdown in Asia for its second-quarter sales miss last month, while profits at France's Danone were hit by weak dairy sales in Europe.

Net profit at Nestle, whose brands span from KitKat chocolate bars to Nescafe coffee, fell to 4.6 billion Swiss francs ($5.07 billion) in the six months to June, short of analysts' average estimate of 5.01 billion francs in a Reuters poll, as the strong Swiss franc took its toll.

Sales growth adjusted for currency swings and acquisitions accelerated to 4.7 percent in the first half, from 4.1 percent in the year-ago period and 4.2 percent in the first quarter. (1 US dollar = 0.9078 Swiss franc) (Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz)

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