Nestle posts drop in 2017 profit, to end L'Oreal stake deal

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss food and beverage giant Nestle says it's ending its agreement with the well-heeled Bettencourt family of France over the L'Oreal cosmetics empire and is exploring options for its Gerber Life Insurance business.

The announcement came as the Vevey, Switzerland-based company reported net profit fell nearly 16 percent to 7.18 billion Swiss francs ($7.7 billion) last year, compared to 8.53 billion in 2016. The company said the drop was mostly due to accounting of cash-flow issues at Nestle Skin Health.

Nestle said Thursday that revenues edged up 0.4 percent to 89.8 billion francs, while underlying profit rose 4.6 percent to 3.55 billion francs.

The company reported growth of 2.4 percent, and CEO Mark Schneider acknowledged that organic sales growth came in "below our expectations" following "weak sales development" toward year-end.