Yoghurt specialist Danone has announced like-for-like group sales of EUR13bn (US$15.5bn) for the full year 2005 – an increase of 6.7% compared to last year.

In terms of product category, fresh dairy products were dominant, with EUR7.2bn net sales – an increase of 7%. Net sales of beverages increased 10%, at EUR3.5bn and biscuits and cereal product net sales were up 1.5%, at EUR2.4bn.

The company reaffirmed a 5-7% projected sales growth for 2006.

Groupe Danone chairman and CEO Franck Riboud said: “This performance exemplifies our ability to achieve as we have done for the past six years. To deliver organic growth of 6.7%, while continuing to increase the operating margin of the group, despite the problems in our principal market and the increase in certain material costs, demonstrates the relevance of our chosen business strategies.

“The decision by the board to propose a significant increase in the dividend illustrates very clearly our confidence in the Danone model to continue to deliver one of the best financial performances in the sector. While our constant focus is to improve group performance, our mission is also to bring health through our food to as large a number of people as possible.”