Nestle sees bottom line up sharply on one-time gains, cites deflationary pressures in Europe

Markets Associated Press

Food company Nestle S.A. says net profit rose 44 percent last year as the company booked one-time gains from the sale of a stake in L'Oreal and its purchase of dermatology company Galderma.

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Stripping out those gains, the company's earnings per share increased 4.4 percent.

Swiss-based Nestle on Thursday reported weak sales growth in Europe, saying business conditions there were volatile, "with deflationary pressure increasing during the year" and little flexibility to increase prices.

Net profit rose 4.4 billion francs to 14.5 billion francs ($15.4 billion) on sales of 91.6 billion francs. The year sales figure was off 0.6 percent, lowered by currency exchange rate effects.

The company's 50 percent stake in Galderma was revalued upward after it was raised to 100 percent during the year.