PARIS — The Essential Dairy and Plant-based (EDP) segment of Danone SA fared well amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic over the first six months of the year. The same could not be said for the company’s Waters segment as out-of-home demand declined for single-serve bottled water.
EDP reported sales of €6.6 billion ($7.8 billion), a flat performance compared to the first six months of 2019. Waters sales sank 21% to €1.85 billion ($2.19 billion) from €2.35 billion.
Within EDP, the brands Silk, Horizon, Alpro, Actimel and Danette increased in volume by double-digit percentages, said Cécile Cabanis, chief financial officer, in a July 30 earnings call.
“Today, when you look at it, almost one out of two American families consumes plant-based beverages when it was 30% at the time we acquired WhiteWave (in 2017),” she said. “This broadly benefited our portfolio of brands and especially So Delicious and Horizon Organic that gained market share over the period.”
Danone expects at-home consumption in Europe and North America to continue for the rest of the year, which should benefit EDP, Ms. Cabanis said.
Within Waters, all geographic regions posted sales declines, which ranged between 20% and 40%, Ms. Cabanis said. COVID-19 expanded into new regions in the second quarter, which reflected the full effect of out-of-home closings in Europe and other countries, she said. May was the low point for Waters, she said.
“June was an improvement,” Ms. Cabanis said. “July was subsequent improvement — still double-digit negative.”
Companywide, Paris-based Danone posted net income of €1.10 billion ($13.0 billion), or €1.68 per share on the common stock, which was down 10% from €1.22 billion, or €1.68 per share, in the same time of the previous year. First-half sales of €12.19 billion ($14.44 billion) were down 3.6% from €12.65 billion in the same time of the previous year. Specialized Nutrition, another Danone segment, had first-half sales of €3.74 billion, up 1.2% from €3.70 billion in the first half of the previous year.
Danone did not provide financial guidance for the fiscal year because of uncertainty concerning COVID-19.