Hot Pockets strong for Nestle in 2009

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VEVEY, SWITZERLAND — The frozen grain-based foods business of Nestle S.A. contributed to improved margins and organic sales growth in the company’s prepared dishes and cooking aids business worldwide in 2009.

Announcing results for the year, Nestle said the segment had sales of 17,205 million Swiss francs ($15.9 billion), up 0.8% from 2008, and EBIT margins of 12.9%, up 20 basis points.

“In the U.S., Hot Pockets and Stouffer's family meals benefited from more consumers staying at home,” the company said. “However, demand for single-serve Stouffer’s and Lean Cuisine products was weaker, although the latter maintained share in its category.”

Overall, Nestle organic sales for the year were up 4.1%, to 108 billion Swiss francs ($99.6 billion), and earnings per share were up 10%, at 3.09 Swiss francs ($2.85) (up 16% in constant currencies).

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