French food and beverage group Danone has reported lower 2004 net income but said it is confident of reaching its 2005 goals.

The company said net sales were €13.7bn (US$17.6bn) in 2004 compared to €13.1bn a year earlier.

Net income was €317m in 2004, compared to €839m a year earlier. Excluding one-time exceptional items of €600m in 2004, net income was €917 compared to €839m in the previous year.

On a like-for-like basis, sales increased by 7.8% for the full year of 2004, which is the highest organic growth rate reported over the last decade, Danone said.

For 2005, Danone said it is confident that it will achieve its targets of like-for-like sales growth of 5-7%, and current earnings per share growth of approximately 10%.

Danone's brands include Evian and Volvic bottled water, Lu biscuits and cereals, and Danone and Dannon dairy products.