VEVEY, SWITZERLAND — Divestitures and the strength of the Swiss franc compared with other currencies led to a first-quarter decrease in sales for Nestle. Sales for the quarter were 25,174 million Swiss francs ($21,630 million), down 2% from 25,717 million Swiss francs.

"The group achieved positive organic growth in the first quarter of 2009, despite tough comparisons with Nestle’s near 10% organic growth over the same period last year," said Paul Bulcke, chief executive officer. "Our response to the challenging economic environment in 2009 has been to seize new opportunities, accelerating key initiatives in areas such as product affordability, innovation and renovation as well as cost efficiencies. The increasing momentum from such initiatives, as well as the strength of our brands and our worldwide geographic presence, enables me to confirm our guidance for 2009 as a whole."

For Zone Americas, sales were 7,487 million Swiss francs ($6,433 million), up 6% from 7,095 million Swiss francs during the same quarter of the previous year.

During the first quarter Nestle had organic growth of 4%. For the full-year the company anticipates organic growth of at least 5% along with further improvement of the EBIT margin.