February 19, 2019 / 6:46 AM / 8 months ago

Food group Danone eyes more sales and profit growth in 2019

PARIS, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Food group Danone said on Tuesday it would further accelerate sales growth and profits this year, thanks to cost cuts and its push into healthy eating trends.

Danone, which bought U.S. organic food group WhiteWave in 2017, made the forecasts after delivering higher 2018 earnings despite a consumer boycott in Morocco and weaker demand for infant formula products in China.

Danone, which is the world’s largest yoghurt maker and which stabilised its dairy sales in Europe, said it was targeting like-for-like sales growth of around 3 percent in 2019 and an operating margin above 15 percent.

The company added this meant it was on track to deliver on its 2010 goals.

Like-for-like sales in 2018 rose 2.9 percent to 24.651 billion euros ($27.8 billion), a slight acceleration from 2.5 percent in 2017, and slightly above analysts’ estimates in a company-compiled consensus for 2.8 percent.

The 2018 operating margin rose 51 basis points to 14.45 percent of sales.

$1 = 0.8853 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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