FRANCE – Danone has reported very strong results for its year 2017, with its sales up by 3.7% and strong recurring EPS growth up 14.2% at constant exchange rate, in line with full-year guidance.
With sales growth up 3.7% on a like-for-like New Danone basis in the last quarter, Danone saw a continuation of its top-line growth in the second half of the year.
The improvement in the last quarter was driven by very strong growth in Specialized Nutrition (8.4%) and Waters (10.3%) and the sequential improvement of Essential Dairy and Plant-Based International and Noram.
The company also experienced 2.5% acceleration in its sales growth and expected it to be 4.2% in the second half of the year, driven by improvement in all businesses and acceleration of innovation pipeline.
Very strong improvement of recurring operating margin at 14.36%, up 70bp was also recorded despite strong raw materials inflation.
“In 2017, Danone once again demonstrated the strength of its portfolio, the resilience of its business model and its ability to execute.
Despite volatile food and beverage markets and rising input costs, we delivered very strong full-year results, with double-digit recurring earnings per share growth in line with our latest guidance.
We closed the year with an accelerated sales growth rate, outperforming the industry average, along with very strong margin improvement and free cash flow above US$2.48billion.”
In addition to strong results delivery, 2017 has been a year of preparation and continued transformation with the on-boarding of WhiteWave, and the launch of its ambitious €1bn ‘Protein’ savings program.
The company has also continued to strengthen the organization and governance, backing the launch of One Planet.One Health vision to sustainable value creation for all the stakeholders.
“This achievement reflects the unparalleled engagement of all the Danone teams, which I am proud to lead and would like to thank for making this possible every day.
In a trading environment that remains volatile and fragmented, we are starting 2018 with stronger foundations and I am confident that we are on track to accelerate towards our 2020 ambition, with another year of delivery against the commitment we made to our shareholders for consistent EPS growth.”
In 2017, consolidated sales were (US$30,611) €24,677 million, up 2.5% on a “like-for-like New Danone” basis.
Cécile Cabanis, Chief Financial Officer, said, “2017 was a year of both delivery and preparation for the next phase of our strategic transformation.
Looking forward, navigating sustained market volatility is becoming a normal and inherent part of our operating model.
In addition, our on-going focus on accelerating growth and driving efficiencies makes us confident in both the current year and our steady progress towards our 2020 goals.
We continue to strengthen our growth model by strategically deploying our resources with agility and discipline for the short, mid and long term.”