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The global CEO of Nestle, Paul Bulcke said he is very optimistic about the emerging markets. According to him, the dynamics of emerging economies like India and China are likely to be positive for a long time. He further added that despite the problems in Europe, Nestle has been substantially growing its business there.
The emerging markets are really emerging
In an exclusive interview with CNBC-TV18, the global CEO of Nestle, Paul Bulcke said he is very optimistic about the emerging markets. According to him, the dynamics of emerging economies like India and China are likely to be positive for a long time. He further added that despite the problems in Europe, Nestle has been substantially growing its business there.
Here is the edited transcript of the interview on CNBC-TV18.
Q: Let me start by asking you about a comment that you made when you took over and you said 2008-2009 were not the easiest years, but if you actually start at the turbulent times you hope that things will get better. Have things gotten much better since 2008-2009?
A: At least you get used to it. We are in for some turbulence for quite a few more years. If you see the debt crisis in Europe, it is not something that has been built overnight. It is not going to come to a solution overnight either. But, the positive trends are there to stay.
I see the emerging markets coming to the fore and that is not going to be for one year. It is going to be something that is a dynamic and this is going to be positive for a long time. I am always an optimist.
Q: You are an optimist and you hope that the emerging markets will continue to drive growth as far as Nestle is concerned. In fact, that is the big differentiator for both Nestle as well as Unilever in comparison to Danone or P&G for instance, because it has really been your emerging market growth that has been driving sales for you. But I want to pick up on that, because you have actually seen in Asia, Oceania and Africa sales down to 9.4 percent from 11.6 percent. You also believe that China, because of the way the Chinese economy has slowed down has not delivered as per your expectations or its true potential. What are your thoughts now as far as India is concerned and the emerging market in general?
A: We get spurred so fast. The emerging markets are really emerging. I see a refreshing embracing their destiny that we did not see in the past. This is a very, very strong dynamics that is going to come to you over time. We get used to double digit growth in these markets and we feel that should be the permanent way. We are speaking about growth on growth and if something comes to 7-8 percent, that is not bad.
Q: If you compare it to Europe it is not bad at all or the US.
A: But, that part of the world is an increasingly important part of the world and that is growing quite substantially at 5 to 7 percent. When these countries were growing above 10 percent they said, the engines go overheat and then it goes down a bit. I think we are all a little nervous lately, so I tried to maintain perspective on these things. Over time, I see 80 percent of the world population going for and working for a better tomorrow and that is what we want to be part of. That is where I see potential for the future. In the meantime, I do believe there is so much opportunity for a company like ours, even in the Europe of today and we have been growing in Europe.
Q: A substantial chunk of it.
A: Indeed. I do believe in the world of tomorrow, quite a substantial part of growth worldwide is going to come from where there is so much opportunity of growth still.
Q: You talked about nervousness. How nervous are you feeling about the emerging markets? I want to talk to you specifically about China and India because these were the markets that were giving everybody double digit growth. These were the economies that were expected to grow between 8 and 10 percent. China has come down to about 7 percent. India at best is probably going to do about 6-6.5 percent. What does that mean for a company like yours?
A: I am not nervous, I am alert and that is somewhere a strength of Nestle too. We are not only there, we are also in Africa, Latin America and we are growing in Europe. We really tried to see the opportunities everywhere in the world and building the capabilities to grow and go after these opportunities.
The fact that we have been growing in Greece inspite of the problems and our business is not directly related to GDPs. We are related to what consumers' building up of middle classes are going for and that is the interesting dynamics that actually inspires my optimism.
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