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Vienna – Revenues at Swiss food giant Nestle grew by only 0.4 per cent to 21 billion Swiss francs (20.6 billion dollars) in the first quarter, the company reported Thursday, pointing to weak consumer demand in the American region.

In the Americas, so-called organic sales, which exclude recently sold and bought brands and currency effects, were flat at the same rate of 0.4 per cent, the world's biggest food maker said at its Swiss headquarters in Vevey.

In the United States, business with sweets and petcare producs declined. The large Brazilian market was affected by the country's fragile economic situation, and sales growth slowed down in Mexico due to weaker consumer confidence.

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Subdued American markets weighed down on stronger results from Turkey, Africa, South-East Asia and India.

However, the company that makes Nespresso coffee and Maggi soups held on to its outlook for this year, with organic growth expected to range between 2 and 4 per cent.