Underlying income rises 2% at Groupe Danone

by Eric Schroeder
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PARIS — Underlying net income at Groupe Danone in the first half of fiscal 2012 ended June 30 totaled €911 million ($1,125 million), up 2% from €874 million in the same period a year ago. Sales increased 6% to €10,475 million ($12,947 million) from €9,728 million.

“The consumer environment definitely got tougher in Europe, particularly Southern Europe, in the first half of this year,” said Franck Riboud, chairman and chief executive officer. “At Danone, we moved quickly to manage this situation in line with our strategic priorities: strengthening our brands and pursuing sustainable, profitable growth. Our first-half organic growth in sales stands at nearly 6%, in line with our full-year objectives.

“In the United States and Russia, our Oikos and Prostokvashino brands are continuing to expand rapidly. In emerging markets, we are continuing to grow at a very brisk pace and are expanding our presence, as we did recently in Morocco and India.”

Broken down by business line, sales in the company’s Fresh Dairy Products line rose 4% to €5,906 million ($7,303 million) from €5,672 million a year ago.

“In the United States, the Oikos brands continue to win market share in the very fast growing Greek yogurt segment, strengthening Danone’s leading position in fresh dairy products overall,” the company said. “The group is heading into the second half of 2012 with additional production capacity and ambitious plans for innovation.”

First-half sales in Waters climbed 11% to €1,855 million ($2,294 million) from €1,667 million.

Within Baby Nutrition, sales rose 15% to €2,090 million ($2,585 million), and in Medical Nutrition sales increased 9% to €624 million ($772 million).

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