BEAULIEU/LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Nestlé presented its 2018 financial performance and key business strategies April 11 at its 152nd Annual General Meeting, reporting steady growth on-track with expectations and ambitious goals for global nutrition and sustainability. The presentation was attended by 1,830 shareholders.

Revenue for Nestlé’s pet care division in 2018 totaled $12.77 billion (12.82 billion Swiss francs), an increase of 3.3% from year-ago sales. Pet care brands make up 14% of Nestlé’s overall revenue.

All Nestlé product categories experienced at least some growth from 2017 to 2018, with its Nutrition and Health Science business growing the most at 6.17%.

Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider said the company earned $91.12 billion in sales in 2018, a 2.1% increase from year-ago sales. Organic growth was 3% and real internal growth was 2.5%.

Trading operating profit increased 3.9% to $13.8 billion compared to 2017. Underlying trading operating profit, which excluded restructuring costs and other items, according to Schneider, totaled $15.5 billion.

Net profit grew 39.4% to $10.4 billion compared to 2017. Net profit attributable to shareholders totaled $10.1 billion. Earnings per share was $3.35.

“Our net profit was supported by several exceptional items, including proceeds from the sale of businesses,” Schneider said.

“As you can see, all of our company’s key financial performance indicators are positive. Our value creation model is clearly gaining traction and we are on track to achieve our objectives for 2020,” Schneider added. “However, we know that we still have a long way to go, and we will continue to execute our strategy with discipline and determination.”

The company detailed its three-point strategy to reduce environmental impact by 2025, which was made public in January 2019.

Phasing out non-recyclable or difficult-to-recycle plastics in all Nestlé’s product packaging and replacing them with alternative or biodegradable materials is the first step of its sustainability initiative. Schneider said the company is also developing new distribution systems with reusable packaging to reduce single-use packages.

The second part of its strategy is to strive for zero-waste. Nestlé is currently working in Asia to prevent the buildup of plastic in oceans and natural environments on land. Additionally, the company has looked inward to get rid of non-recyclable and single-use plastics in its manufacturing facilities globally.

The company also nominated two new members to its board, Dick Boer, former president and CEO of Ahold Delhaize, and Dinesh Paliwal, president and CEO of Harman International Industries Inc. Shareholders elected both nominees to the board and approved the retention of the Chairman Paul Bulcke and all other eligible members of the board for another year. 

Shareholders also approved the proposal of a dividend increase to $2.44 per share totaling $7.2 billion, as well as a capital reduction, during the presentation.

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