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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

World's biggest yoghurt maker Danone sees sales slow

Increase of 1.4 per cent sharply lower than 3.3 per cent growth in the second quarter and 4.9 per cent in the first quarter

Danone sales hit in China but other divisions did better. Reuters
Danone sales hit in China but other divisions did better. Reuters

Danone said sales growth slowed sharply in the third quarter, reflecting falling sales of its infant formula products in China due to challenging year-ago comparables, and due to lost dairy sales stemming from a consumer boycott in Morocco.

Warm weather in Europe, however, lifted sales at its water division while there was a decent performance at its dairy and plant-based business in North America, where Danone is integrating organic food group WhiteWave, and Danone kept its full year financial goals.

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Danone, the world's largest yoghurt maker with brands including Actimel and Activia, said third-quarter sales reached €6.18 billion (Dh26.23bn), marking a like-for-like sales increase of 1.4 per cent - slightly above analysts' forecasts for 1.2 per cent growth.

Nevertheless, this marked a sharp slowdown from 3.3 per cent growth in the second quarter and 4.9 per cent in the first quarter.

Danone, which is targeting an operating margin above 16 per cent and like-for-like sales growth of 4 to 5 per cent by 2020, reiterated its expectation for a double-digit rise in 2018 underlying earnings per share (EPS), excluding the impact of the sale of a stake in Japan's Yakult.