Groupe Danone sales rise 8% in first quarter

by Eric Schroeder
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PARIS — Sales at Groupe Danone in the first quarter of 2012 increased nearly 8%, rising to €5,117 million ($6,714 million) from €4,757 million in the same period a year ago.

Franck Riboud, chairman and chief executive officer of Groupe Danone, said the Paris-based company is off to a good start in 2012 and is continuing to build operations in the countries driving its growth.

“Momentum in Asia and Latin America remains strong, while in Russia and the United States our action plans already show the first clear signs of paying off, confirming a return to growth,” he said. “In Europe, where consumer demand remains sluggish, particularly in the south, we’ve focused on supporting our brands and our product categories.”

Broken down by business line, like-for-like sales in the company’s Fresh Dairy Products line rose 4% to €2,960 million ($3,883 million) from €2,851 million a year ago.

“In the United States, our Oikos brand continued to gain market share in the booming Greek yogurt market, consolidating Danone’s leading position in the Fresh Dairy Products category as a whole,” the company said.

Like-for-like sales in Waters climbed 16% to €841 million ($1,103 million) from €718 million. Groupe Danone said strong growth in value continues to reflect the effect of price increases introduced since the second quarter of 2011.

Within Baby Nutrition, like-for-like sales rose 9% to €1,014 million ($1,330 million), and in Medical Nutrition sales increased 6% to €302 million ($396 million).

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