Dubai- “Challenging” is how Nestlé Middle East CEO Yves Manghardt described business during the past year for the Swiss multinational food and beverage company.
The $250bn company, which is celebrating its 150-year anniversary, reported an 8.9 percent decline in first-half net profit to $5.6bn, despite increasing its revenue by 3.5 percent.
While Nestle Middle East reported $2.4bn in sales last year, it has been facing one of the most testing periods in its 82-year history in the region.
Conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen have almost wiped out sales in those countries, cutting a significant chunk from revenues, while the entire region is affected by underlying economic issues — dominated by the lower oil price.’
Global economic issues and job losses, particularly in the construction industries in Saudi Arabia and Qatar also have impacted Nestle’s Middle East operations.
“We maintained our increased market share across the region. We have come up with some very good innovations in terms of nutrition, health and wellness,” he said.
The nutrition, health and wellness play a core role for Nestle’s business.
Under the headline of ‘creating shared value’, Manghardt said Nestle seeks to enhance people’s quality of life.
He explained that Nestle Healthy Kids goes some way towards addressing the growing issue of obesity and diabetes.
He said Nestle “is reducing salt and sugar in its products on an ongoing basis” despite concerns that consumers are not switching to the healthier products.
“We are very much aware of the implication it has. For us it’s a commitment because it’s all about enhancing people’s quality of life,” Manghardt said