1 – Like-for-like sales growth of +5.5% for the 3rd quarter 2004
Groupe Danone has achieved a +5.5% like-for-like sales growth in third-quarter. This takes the like-for-like sales growth to +7.7% for the first 9 months of 2004.
Consolidated sales amounted to 10,561 million in the first 9 months of 2004, increasing by +4.5% on an historical basis.
Changes in exchange rates had a negative impact of -2.3% while the scope of consolidation negatively impacted sales by -0.9%.
Figures by business line and geographical area for the first 9 months are as follows:
Like-for-like sales growth by business line and geographical area is as follows :
The performance of Beverages and Europe, in the third quarter 2004, reflects the poor weather conditions in Northern Europe, compared to very high temperatures in the whole of Europe in 2003.
On a reported basis, 3rd quarter sales increased by +2.3%. Changes in exchange rates had a negative impact of -2.0% and changes in the scope of consolidation had a negative impact of -1.2%.
3 –Full year 2004 outlook:
The performance to date reinforces Groupe DANONE's capacity to reach for the full year 2004:
· A like-for-like sales growth around +7%.
· An operating margin improvement of at least +20 bp.
· A fully diluted current earnings per share growth of +10%.
2004 Final audited results will be released on February 11th, 2005.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements regarding Groupe Danone's growth and margin targets for 2004. Although the Company believes its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, these forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. For a detailed description of the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations of the Company or its management, please see the sections "Risk Factors" and "Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 2, 2004.