Danone CEO Franck Riboud has poured cold water on speculation that the French dairy giant could be interested in buying Dean Foods, the largest dairy processor in the US.

Riboud, in South Africa at the launch of the Danone Southern Africa office in Johannesburg, told local newspaper Business Day that the company was not looking to acquire Dean Foods.

“Dean is not a core business for us. It’s milk, it’s not my business,” Riboud said.

Danone was linked to Dean Foods earlier this year, although analysts were sceptical over such a move.

Speaking to Business Day, the Danone chief executive said the US was “an emerging country” for the company in terms of yoghurt sales. The Activia maker, he said, was looking to increase its sales in the US from US$1bn to $3bn in the next two years without acquisitions.

When contacted by just-food today, Danone confirmed Riboud’s comments but did not comment further.