Danone profit more than doubles; raises full-year guidance

by Eric Schroeder
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PARIS — First-half profit more than doubled at Groupe Danone, prompting the yogurt and bottled water maker to raise its guidance for like-for-like sales growth for the full year to 7% to 8%, up from its earlier forecast of 5% to 7%.

For the first six months, Groupe Danone had sales of €7,217 million ($9,232 million), which included sales of €3,967 million in fresh dairy products, €2,045 million in beverages and €1,205 million in biscuits and cereal products. The figures marked gains over the previous year of 13% for fresh dairy, 15% for beverages, and 4% for biscuits and cereal products.

In the first half, trading operating income in fresh dairy products increased 13% to €573 million. Beverage operating income increased 9% to €263 million, and biscuits and cereal products sales rose 6% to €162 million.

"First-half 2006 performance is the strongest ever in the group’s history in terms of like-for-like growth," said Franck Riboud, chairman and chief executive officer of Danone. "Key to this success has been our geographic expansion and new frontiers approach, the fast roll out of our brands delivering health benefits and our constant commitment to innovate."

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