PARIS May 18 French food group Danone
said it banked on synergies from its acquisition of U.S. organic
food producer WhiteWave and on a one billion euro cost-cutting
plan to lift its recurring operating margin above 16 percent of
sales in 2020.
The world's largest yoghurt maker made the forecast in a
statement issued on the last of a two-day seminar in Evian,
eastern France, to detail its long-term strategy.
Danone also said it targeted overall like-for-like sales
growth of between 4 percent and 5 percent in 2020.
Danone achieved like-for-like sales growth of 2.9 percent
and an operating margin of 13.77 percent of sales last year.
Danone unveiled in July 2016 plans to buy WhiteWave - maker
of Silk almond milk and Earthbound Farm Organic salad - in its
largest acquisition since 2007, a move it said would double the
size of its U.S. business. The deal finally closed on April 12.
Whitewave's products have outperformed mainstream packaged
food businesses in recent years as they are in line with a
consumer shift toward natural foods and healthier eating and
should help Danone as it struggles with challenging conditions
in dairy in Europe and babyfood in China.
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Michel Rose)