During the first half of 2000, the Nestlé Group achieved a significant increase in both sales and profit margins. Consolidated sales grew by 9.9 percent to CHF 38.8 billion, with real internal growth accelerating to 4.5 percent, compared to 2.1 percent in the same period of 1999. Trading profit amounted to CHF 4296 million. This represents 11.1 percent of sales against 9.8 percent for the 1st half of 1999. Net profit increased to CHF 2798 million or CHF 72.7 per share, resulting in a net profit margin of 7.2 percent (5.9 percent in the first half of 1999). The strong sales performance reflects the Group's emphasis on internal growth. The margin improvements result from progress achieved in enhancing operational efficiency, the streamlining of the Group's product portfolio, industrial restructuring and some lower raw material prices which were able to offset higher packaging costs.