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Mon, Jun 15, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Crisis not halting Nestle’s plans for Southeast Asia

AFP , SINGAPORE

Swiss food and beverage giant Nestle will step up investment in Southeast Asia despite the impact of the global economic crisis, the company’s chief executive said.

Paul Bulcke said the financial downturn was not deterring Nestle from committing 260 million Swiss Francs (US$241 million) to the region, an increase of between 15 and 20 percent from last year.

“I see more opportunities than problems,” he said at a news conference late on Saturday. “We see when there is conflict, when there is turbulence, we see there is huge potential.”

He said the company was well placed to retain customer share even in the financial downturn and despite consumers switching to lower-priced goods.

“What we have to do is to adapt our situation so that they can trade down staying with our brands. They don’t have to trade out of our brands,” he said.

Bulcke said the company experienced 15 percent growth in Southeast Asia last year, and was expanding its business and manufacturing facilities in the region.

ASEAN represents a market of about 600 million people.

“The ASEAN region represents approximately 10 percent of the world’s population, and I would like to reiterate that it will remain a very important growth driver for the company,” he said. “The ASEAN region is a very important part of the Nestle business overall and our continued commitment and ongoing investments ... demonstrate our confidence in this region.”

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