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Daily digit: Danone's baby food boost

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 01:05

April 16 - Danone beats quarterly sales growth forecasts thanks to strong demand for baby food in Asia and improved business at its core dairy unit in the United States and Russia. Sonia Legg reports

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5.6% is today's daily digit - the quarterly increase in like-for-like sales at Danone. The world's largest yoghurt maker - which makes Actimel and Activia brands - beat forecasts largely thanks to a 17% increase in baby food sales. Booming demand in Asia was largely the cause due to later Chinese new year celebrations and continued strong sales of western-made baby milk following a contamination scandal in China. Business at its core dairy unit in Russia and the United States also improved. But sales fell more than 5% in austerity-hit Europe where the French firm is more exposed to the debt crisis than its rivals Nestle and Unilever . Danone's cutting around 900 jobs to cope with the downturn in southern Europe. In contrast its bottled water brands, which make up almost a fifth of sales and include Evian and Volvic, grew 8.6% - again thanks to emerging economies. Danone shares were up more than three percent - leading gainers on the French CAC-40. At one point its stock hit its highest level since 2008

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Daily digit: Danone's baby food boost

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 01:05