PARIS Oct 18 Danone posted a slowdown
in underlying third-quarter sales growth on Tuesday, as
regulatory changes in China weighed on its infant formula sales
and de-stocking of the Mizone water in China continued.
The French food group said its dairy sales remained negative
in Europe despite the relaunch of its Danonino and Activia
brands, but medical nutrition sales were strong. The company
reiterated its full-year guidance.
The world's largest yoghurt maker, whose brands include
Actimel and Activia, said third-quarter sales reached 5.537
billion euros ($6.20 billion), with like-for-like growth of 2.1
percent against 4.1 percent in the second quarter.
The performance came below the company-compiled average of
analyst estimates of 2.2 percent growth in group sales.
In July, Danone had already flagged that in Europe, indirect
demand from Chinese consumers buying baby formula online was
declining due to changes in the Chinese regulatory environment.
For 2016, Danone kept its targets of like-for-like sales
growth of between 3 percent and 5 percent, and a rise in its
operating margin of 50 to 60 basis points from 12.91 percent in
($1 = 0.8928 euros)
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Mathieu Rosemain)