Danone CEO Riboud said results backed decision to invest in emerging markets

Danone CEO Riboud said results backed decision to invest in emerging markets

French food giant Danone has booked an increase in third-quarter revenue and confirmed its full-year sales, margin and cash-flow targets.

For the three months to the end of September, consolidated reported sales rose 15% to EUR4.35bn (US$6.11bn). Excluding the effects of changes in exchange rates, M&A and disposals, sales rose 6.9% on a like-for-like basis.

Danone's fresh dairy products sales increased 5.5% on a like-for-like basis in the quarter, with a 5.6% rise in volumes.

In the firm's baby nutrition division, like-for-like sales were up 8.6%, reflecting a 6.7% rise in volumes. Sales increased in all regions, with China, Indonesia, and the UK still the main drivers, Danone said.

"Our third-quarter results confirm the strong performance we reported in the previous months of 2010 and the solidity of Danone's business model," said chairman and CEO Franck Riboud.

"These positive results, achieved in the face of difficult economic conditions marked by weak consumer demand in Europe and rising raw material prices, enable us to confirm our full-year targets for growth and value creation. They also provide added support for our decision to continue investing in the emerging markets that are our priorities as drivers for both present and future growth."

For 2010, Danone confirmed its target of like-for-like sales growth of at least 6%, a "stable" trading operating margin versus 2009 on a like-for-like basis and an increase in free cash flow from operations of at least 10% versus 2009 on a reported basis.