August 27, 2019 / 9:01 AM / 4 months ago

Expensive assets make Nestle picky on M&A: CFO

A logo is pictured during the 152nd Annual General Meeting of Nestle in Lausanne, Switzerland April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

ZURICH (Reuters) - Nestle (NESN.S) is taking a cautious approach to growth-driving acquisitions, finance chief Francois-Xavier Roger told a financial conference on Tuesday, putting the expected volume for portfolio adjustments this year at around 12 billion Swiss francs ($12.3 billion).

“We have to be very careful because asset prices are very expensive. By having a very disciplined M&A policy, we managed to improve our return on invested capital over the last four years,” he said, noting Horlicks would have been a great fit but cost too much.

Unilever (ULVR.L) snapped up GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK.L) Horlicks nutrition business for $3.8 billion.

“We didn’t necessarily want to make a big entry in coffee shops, but it made sense for us to do a test in the super premium area with Blue Bottle. (...) It is interesting for us to understand what is going on in that space that is more about service while we focus more on products.”

Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz, Editing by Michael Shields

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