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Danone posts 4.4% drop in Q3 sales, reaffirms full-year guidance

Danone said fiscal third-quarter sales for 2018 fell 4.4% as a result of emerging currencies devaluation, but the company reaffirmed its target of reaching double-digit EPS growth for the full year.

The French packaged goods producer's third-quarter sales came in at €6.19 billion on a reported basis, down from €6.47 billion in the year-earlier quarter. The third-quarter S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus estimate for revenue was 6.24 billion.

On a like-for-like basis, sales for the quarter rose 1.4%.

"In the latest quarter, we have seen an encouraging return to growth in essential dairy and plant-based [products], alongside strong momentum in waters," said Chairman and CEO Emmanuel Faber in a statement. Those results, the company said, compensated for a contraction in sales of early life nutrition products in China.

Faber added: "We also have the foundations in place to navigate current emerging market volatility and currency headwinds, which will enable us to continue to deliver sustainable profitable growth."

Danone, maker of Alpro plant-based drinks, Activia yogurt and Evian mineral water, reaffirmed its full-year guidance of targeting double-digit recurring EPS growth for the year, at constant exchange rates and excluding a transaction related to the Yakult product.

The 4.4% decline in reported sales for the quarter reflects a negative currency impact of 5.2% driven mainly by the appreciation of the euro against the Argentinian peso, Turkish lira and Brazilian real, each of which depreciated by more than 20% in the quarter from the year-ago period.

The international essential plant and dairy-based products, or EDP, division reported an 8.1% decline in reported sales for the quarter, while the decline for the specialized nutrition division was 6.2% and the decline in sales for the waters division was 1.5%. Reported sales for the EDP Noram division rose 1.4%.

On a like-for-like basis, quarterly sales at the EDP International division were flat for the quarter, fell slightly for the specialized nutrition business, and rose for the waters and EDP Noram businesses.