Nestle CEO expects busier year for M&A deals

FILE PHOTO: Nestle CEO Mark Schneider speaks during the Fortune Global Forum in Paris, France, November 19, 2019. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

ZURICH (Reuters) - Nestle NESN.S expects a "more vigorous" year for acquisitions in 2020 as the packaged food giant looks to expand its business, Chief Executive Mark Schneider said on Friday.

The KitKat chocolate bar maker is working on a number of interesting leads in the M&A area, Schneider told an analyst call, without giving specifics.

“We did tell you we expect a more vigorous year when it comes to M&A, looking at our pipeline here that continues to be the case,” Schneider said. “The pipeline certainly looks more interesting than it did last year.”

This approach did not necessarily mean targeting companies pushed into financial difficulties by the COVID-19 crisis, with the full impact not yet being fully felt, he said. Food and beverage companies were also doing well due to increased consumer demand, he added.

Reporting by John Revill; editing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi