Swiss multinational Nestlé has reported a robust set of figures for the first nine months of 2005 with organic sales up 5.8%.

The maker of Perrier attributed this sales rise to real internal growth of 3.8% and price increases of 2%. Sales in the third quarter soared 9.1% on the strength of the US dollar and a surge in US and Asian demand, rising to CHF24.2bn (US$18.7bn) from CHF22.2bn.

Nestlé said that its core food and beverage business in the first nine months accelerated to real internal growth of 3.5% and organic growth of 5.6%, while reported sales in Swiss francs were up by 4.8% to CHF67.7bn. Savings programmes were being implemented as forecast and played a key role in compensating for the ongoing rise in raw material costs.

Nestlé Waters' organic growth rose to 8.4%. Although Europe was flat, North America and the rest of the world experienced strong organic growth. Overall, beverages enjoyed 7.8% organic growth largely due to the strong performance of water and soluble coffee.

Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, chairman and CEO of Nestlé: "The acceleration in our core food and beverage operations was broad-based and, together with the excellent performance of Alcon, allows me to reconfirm that we will deliver 5-6% organic growth for 2005, combined with a sustainable improvement of the EBITA margin in constant currencies. We can also announce a new share buy-back programme, subject to board approval."

The company confirmed it expects to achieve its target of between 5% and 6% organic growth for 2005 as a whole, combined with an improvement in constant currency margins.