* 9-month organic growth 6.1 pct vs 6.3 pct forecast
* 9-month sales 67.6 bln Sfr vs 67.1 bln Sfr forecast
* One-off incidents in crisis zones hit Q3, won't recur
* Shares down 1.9 percent, underperform sector index
By Silke Koltrowitz and John Ruwitch
ZURICH/SHANGHAI, Oct 18 Nestle's sales
growth slowed more than expected in the first nine months of the
year as demand cooled in the emerging markets driving the
world's biggest food company.
Underlying sales growth at the maker of KitKat chocolate
bars and Maggi soup slowed to 6.1 percent from 6.6 percent in
the first half.
Growth in Asia, Oceania and Africa, which accounted for
about one fifth of sales, fell to 9.4 percent from 11.6 percent.
Strong emerging market demand has been helping Nestle and
rival Unilever buck a more negative trend set
by its French and U.S. peers Danone and Procter &
Gamble. Unilever reports results on Oct. 25.
Speaking at a news conference in Shanghai, Nestle Chief
Executive Paul Bulcke said there was some nervousness about
emerging markets, noting that China was not meeting potential.
But he was optimistic for its future growth.
The Chinese economy grew by 7.4 percent in the third
quarter, data showed earlier on Thursday, a sharp slowdown from
"Let's face it when a country's GDP goes up like China's...
that's where we should grow ... That's why I feel for China we
should have double digit-growth for next year," Bulcke said.
Roddy Child-Villiers, head of Nestle investor relations,
said third-quarter sales were hit by one-off events such as
typhoons in the Philippines, social unrest in Egypt and business
disruptions due to sanctions on Iran.
That means the third quarter is not a good pointer to likely
performance in the next three months, he said.
Nestle's growth in Europe, struggling with a debt crisis,
slowed to 1.9 percent from 2.4 percent and was steady in the
Americas region at 5.5 percent.
Vontobel analyst Jean-Philippe Bertschy said growth in
mature markets was reassuring compared with Danone's results.
French food group Danone said on Wednesday growth
slowed sharply at its dairy division as recession-pinched
shoppers in Italy and Spain switched to cheaper alternatives,
sending its shares down.
Nestle reiterated its conservative outlook of 5-6 percent
underlying sales growth this year. Bulcke told reporters on the
sidelines of the media conference he was confident the group
would also achieve 5-6 percent sales growth next year.
"Today, Nestle missed expectations for the first time in
many quarters," Sarasin analyst Patrick Hasenboehler said, but
added he was reiterating his "buy" rating on the stock.
Nestle shares, which hit a record high of 62.30 francs on
Wednesday, fell 1.9 percent to 61.05 francs at 0950 GMT,
underperforming a 1.3 percent weaker sector index.
They are trading at about 17 times estimated 2013 earnings,
broadly in line with Unilever but at a premium
to Danone's 14.2 times.
Price increases accounted for 3.2 percent of sales growth
between January and September, less than the 3.7 percent seen in
the first half.
"There's not going to be much pricing this year,"