Nestle Cautiously Optimistic Of Growth This Year

Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd
is cautiously optimistic of growth this year due to the current global
economic downturn and change in consumer consumption pattern, its
managing director Sullivan O’Carroll said Monday.

“We have grown roughly in line with the country’s gross domestic
product (GDP), although the food industry is less affected compared to
the other industries,” he said.

He was speaking to reporters after the signing of a memorandum of
understanding between Nestle, Halal Industry Development Corporation
(HDC) and National SME COuncil (NASMEC).

O’Carroll said the company experienced some impact due to the
change in consumer consumption pattern, especially in impulse areas
such as ice cream and confectionery products.

Nestle, he said, will continuously defend its market share in
Malaysia by working to retain consumer loyalty, managing expenses
carefully and conducting training and development activities.

Among its products, Milo and Nescafe both have 80 percent share of
the local market while Maggi noodle products have a 50 percent market

O’Carroll said Nestle expects an improvement in the global economy
within 18 months, adding that implementation of the country’s economic
stimulus packages will trickle down the impact.

The company has allocated RM320 million for capital expenditure for this year.

Last year, Nestle recorded a turnover of RM3.6 billion, with up to 24 percent contributed by the export market.

Nestle is planning to move its headquarters to Surian Tower located in Damansara Mutiara in the middle of October this year.

Its current office in Petaling Jaya, Nestle House, will be vacated and taken back by the owner, Axis REIT.

On the MoU, O’Carroll said it would bring a new impetus to the
existing food industry mentoring programme jointly organised by Nestle
and NASMEC since 1999, and it would now be known as the
Nestle-NASMEC-HDC F&B Mentoring Programme.

The new co-operation will see workshops, seminars and a national
level conference organised to reach out to participants from small and
medium enterprises (SMEs) in the food and beverage (F&B) industry
as well as related government agencies and trade organisations.

Under the MoU, Nestle will support the promotion and funding of
the mentoring programme as well as provide relevant expertise for the
workshops, seminars and conference.

The company will also be on a panel of consultants for the e-learning portal.

NASMEC will be responsible for the e-learning Internet portal
project, which will offer online training and promote interactive
communication among SMEs.

HDC will provide its expertise on halal certifications and
requirements as well as facilitate the participation of Bumiputera
entrepreneurs in the F&B industry to take part in the workshops,
seminars and conference.