The creation of the Froneri joint venture and foreign exchange against the Swiss Franc have been cited by Nestlé as reasons for a 0.3 per cent drop in first half sales for 2017, which were CHF 43 billion (US$45bn).

Net profit, however, did increase by 19 per cent to CHF 4.9bn ($5.113bn) as the prior year was impacted by a one-off, non-cash adjustment to deferred taxes. Earnings per share also saw a rise of 19 per cent to CHF 1.58 ($1.66) for the same reason. Meanwhile, underlying trading operating profit was flat at CHF 6.8bn ($7.12).

Mark Schneider, Nestlé’s chief executive, said: “We are pleased with our value creation progress in the first half of 2017. This includes solid operational improvements as well as portfolio management choices and our decision to increase balance sheet efficiency.”