News briefs: Danone results and National Foods

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dairy farmers, Milk, Cheese

This week, Danone says it is managing to offset cost pressures across its global operations and National Foods' ambitions for Australia-based Dairy Farmers are approved by the country's financial watchdog.

Danone confident on 2008 outlook

Danone has posted a 9.6 per cent hike in sales for the first fiscal half to €7.6bn as it looks to offset softer consuming through a number of cost cutting initiatives says group chairman Franck Riboud.

Riboud said that, as a result of the group's performance over the period, the company was now expecting full year like-for-like sales growth between eight and ten per cent.

Over the six months, the group said that trading operating profit increased by 12.3 per cent over the same period the previous year to €1.17bn. On the same terms, the company said that operating margins had increased by 1.6 percentage points.

Danone said that its dairy operations had continued to drive sales over the period, particularly in terms of its key brands.

National foods step nearer to Dairy Farmers buy

National Foods and Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory are a step closer to potentially obtaining Australian cooperative Dairy Farmers after being given approval by the country's competition watchdog, according to press reports.

National Foods, which itself is owned by Japan-based Kirin Holdings, had agreed too offload two milk processing plants and license off some of its major brands to obtain permission, according to the Reuters agency.

Dairy Farmers has a number of operations from specialty cheeses and yoghurts to soy products and juices.

The potential sale of the group, which has attracted the attention of some of the world's largest dairy players including Parmalat and Fonterra, has raised concerns over the impact on the industry of any such deal.

Further statements on the similar impact of the interest from foreign groups like Italy-based Parmalat are expected to be released soon.

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