Danone benefits from price hikes

FRENCH food group Danone stuck to its full-year goals yesterday despite rising commodity costs and tough economic conditions, after price hikes fuelled stronger-than-expected first-quarter sales.

The world’s largest yoghurt maker with brands like Actimel and Activia said business picked up in all divisions, with water and baby food particularly strong and it benefited from its dairy products merger with Russia’s Unimilk last November.

Danone, which competes with Nestle and Unilever, posted first-quarter like-for-like sales growth of 8.5 per cent. It also confirmed its target of 6-8 per cent like-for-like sales growth for 2011 and a full year operating margin up 0.2 per cent at 15.4 per cent.