Infant formula sales in China drive Danone sales

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Reported sales at French food company Danone increased 12.5pc year-on-year to €24.6bn in 2017.

On a like-for-like basis, sales were up 2.5pc.

Earnings before interest and tax at the company increased by just over 17pc to €3.5bn, according to the company’s full year results.

The company experienced a very strong performance in its specialised nutrition business, where sales increased by 9.3pc on a like-for-like basis.

In its update, the company noted the particularly strong performance of its specialised nutrition business in the fourth quarter of 2017, driven by continued positive market dynamics in China.

Danone also highlighted the strong performance of its early life nutrition business, which recorded sales growth of almost 10pc, also driven by the company’s performance in the Chinese market, where the company said it continued to focus on building a sustainable direct sales model for this business.

Recurring earnings per share was 349c, an increase of 12.6pc year-on-year.

"In 2017 Danone once again demonstrated the strength of its portfolio, the resilience of its business model and its ability to execute," Emmanuel Faber, chairman of Danone, said.

"Despite the volatile food and beverage market and rising input costs, we delivered very strong full-year results."

Looking forwards, the company said it would make further progress towards its 2020 ambition through its separate focuses on both mid-term growth and short-term efficiency.

The company said it was targeting double-digit recurring earnings per share growth at constant exchange rate.

Earlier this week the company announced that it was reducing its share in Yakult.