Nestle India reports Rs64-cr quarterly loss as Maggi ban hits sales

Nestle India Ltd has reported net loss of Rs64.40 crore in the April-June quarter of the current financial year as sales plunged after the company was forced to pull out its top selling Maggi instant noodles off shelves over safety concerns.

The company had posted a net profit of Rs287.86 crore during the April-June quarter of the financial year 2014-15, Nestle India said in a statement.

Nestle India's total income from the operations during the period declined 19.52 per cent to Rs1,957.01 crore compared to the Rs2,431.97 crore recorded in the year-ago quarter.

"Net sales for the quarter has decreased by 20.1% largely due to the impact of the Maggi noodles issue. Net domestic sales decreased by 20.6 per cent," Nestle India said in a statement.

"This quarter has been extremely challenging for the company. Nestle India would like to reassure consumers that our products are safe. Consumer trust is and will always remain the cornerstone of Nestle,'' Nestle managing director (designate) Suresh Narayanan said

''Nestle India is making all efforts and will continue to engage with authorities to bring Maggi Noodles back on the shelves," he added.

"The Maggi issue disrupted business. In addition to loss of sales from the business disruption, net sales worth Rs 288.4 crore has been reversed during the quarter in relation to Maggi noodle stocks already sold and withdrawn from the market," the company said.

Nestle has been at the centre of a food scare after local regulators reported that some packets of the company's Maggi instant noodles - one of India's most popular snacks - contained dangerous levels of lead and tastemaker monosodium glutamate (MSG).

Etienne Benet stepped down as the company's managing director last week, following the ban on Maggi noodles, which it said was "unsafe and hazardous for human consumption".

Nestle has maintained Maggi is safe, and appealed against the ban in court even as it continued a nationwide recall of some 27,400 tonnes of the noodles.