Danone has been working on making packaging and marketing for Activia in Europe more localised

Danone has been working on making packaging and marketing for Activia in Europe more localised

Danone has moved to reduce the number of category business units within its European dairy business in a bid to respond faster to changing trends in the market.

Reports in Belgium have said Danone has decided to group together its dairy operations in the UK, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands into one unit.

Asked why Danone was carrying out the move, what functions were being brought together and the impact on jobs, Danone provided a statement.

The Activia maker, which has been struggling to get its dairy sales growing in western Europe, said it had decided to cut the number of category business units from nine to five, pointing to "a complex context of consumption".

The French giant added: "Danone keeps optimising its Dairy organization in Europe to protect its competitiveness and recreate progressively conditions for future growth ... with a common agenda to foster synergies among markets, defining clear priorities for each of them in terms of growth and profitability.

"Danone aims to streamline decision process and execution as well as optimise managerial focus to concentrate resources for activation of its brands and address fast changing consumptions trends. We have no further information to share."

In April, Danone reported a 2.4% rise in fresh dairy sales for the first quarter of 2017, buoyed by its businesses in the CIS states and North America.

However, Danone admitted sales in Europe "continued to be impacted by difficult market conditions and Activia's performance". A relaunch of Activia last year appears not to have paid off and Danone said it would spend the second quarter of 2017 working on "local execution plans" for packaging and marketing.

The company is set to report its first-half results on 27 July.