PARIS, July 25 The volume of sales of Danone's
(DANO.PA) dairy products could increase in the second half of
the year, CEO Franck Riboud said in an interview with French
newspaper Le Figaro on Saturday.
A revival in dairy sales helped Danone post an 8.1 percent
increase in operating profit in the first half but raised
questions as to how long the firm can sustain the price cuts
that helped its key division bounce back.
"The trend seems to be long-lasting in certain zones and
certain categories," he said.
"Our growth in volume could strenghten in the second half."
He said the company had no need for a restructuring plan to
Danone, whose top brands include Activia yoghurt and Actimel
probiotic drinking yoghurt, makes 57 percent of sales in dairy.
It has seen demand at its bottled waters division, which
includes Evian, decline, while baby food and medical nutrition
have achieved significant growth.
Riboud said the fall in demand for bottled water in France
had slowed significantly but not yet returned to growth.
"In Britain, the market that was suffering the most for
bottled water, the news is better," he said.
But he said he did not expect the financial crisis to be
over next year.
"I think that the crisis will not stop in 2010. That's the
wisest theory. I hope I'm wrong, that would be good for Danone,"
(Reporting by Anna Willard; editing by James Jukwey)