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Nestlé SA Chief Executive Officer Paul Bulcke said he expects the U.K. will choose to stay within the European Union, though an exit wouldn’t be a huge risk to the world’s largest food company. Brexit probably isn’t among the top 10 risks for Nestlé, Bulcke said Wednesday at a presentation to investors at its headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland. ‘‘I am quite confident wisdom will prevail,’’ he said. Nestlé has something of a ‘‘natural hedge’’ in that market anyway, as most of what it sells in the U.K. is also produced there, he said.
Nestlé’s U.K. brands include Aero chocolate bars, Nescafe coffee and Herta hot dogs. Companies serving consumers like foodmakers and retailers have been cautious to tread into the Brexit debate, for fear of alienating customers. Tesco Plc, the U.K.’s biggest grocer, has said the referendum is a decision for the people of Britain. Should the June 23 referendum lead the U.K. to pull out of the EU, the implementation of trade barriers may raise costs for food retailers.
One group that’s rallied to keep Britain in the EU is Scotch whisky distillers, who argue that Brexit would jeopardize hard-won market access.
Michael Bloomberg, the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, has publicly supported the campaign to keep the U.K. in the EU.
By Thomas Mulier (Bloomberg)