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Nestl Wants to Use Free Cash to Cut Debt

January 7, 2004

Nestl, Vevey, Switzerland, wants to use its free cash flow to cut debt and is looking to expand its nutrition business, finance chief Wolfgang Reichenberger told a Swiss newspaper on Wednesday.

"Mid-year our debt stood at 21 billion francs...The triple A (credit) rating is important for us," Reichenberger was quoted as saying in an interview with the Finanz und Wirtschaft newspaper. "We have signaled to the rating agencies that we are cutting our debt."

Mr. Reichenberger said the group was looking to expand its nutrition business by forming new partnerships. "This is a comparatively small, but very fast growing and profitable business," Mr. Reichenberger said. "We do not primarily aim to make acquisitions," he added.

Nestl already has partnership deals with firms such as toothpaste maker Colgate and U.S. beverage giant Coca-Cola.
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