Danone sees higher like-for-like sales in Q1

by Eric Schroeder
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PARIS — First-quarter sales at Groupe Danone rose 1% to €3,674 million ($4,843 million) on a like-for-like basis. Overall, the company was led by growth in sales in its Baby Nutrition and Medical Nutrition units.

"The tight management of our growth and market shares, country by country, gives us confidence in our ability to achieve growth in the short and medium term, and to reach our objective to increase our underlying earnings per share by 10% on a like-for-like basis in 2009," said Franck Riboud, chairman and chief executive officer of Groupe Danone.

The Fresh Dairy segment had sales of €2,121 million ($2,796 million), down 1% from €2,179 million in the same period a year ago. Despite the downturn, Danone said U.S. operations experienced a noticeable volume trend rebound in the quarter, resulting in positive volume growth in March due in part to "new product introductions, intensified trade support and consumer promotions and a selective adjustment of pricing."

The Waters segment posted sales of €614 million, down 4% from €695 million.

Higher sales were recorded in the Baby Nutrition segment and Medical Nutrition segment, both up nearly 11%.

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