How did Danone perform in 2018?

2018 was another year of solid performance, with double digit growth in recurring EPS, at constant exchange rate and excluding the impact of Yakult, in line with our guidance. Sales growth accelerated, at 2.9% on a like-for-like basis. Margin improved for the fourth consecutive year, to 14.45%, our €1 billion efficiency program ‘Protein’ delivered ahead of plan and free cash flow increased by more than 7%, at €2.2 billion.

 

All our businesses contributed to the growth, despite headwinds in some of our markets such as Morocco. Significant plant-based expansion and a strong acceleration of innovation have bolstered the performance of our Essential Dairy & Plant-Based business, with Europe managing to stabilize sales at year end. Waters have grown at a consistent strong pace this year, across all geographies. Specialized Nutrition posted a year of broad-based profitable growth, driven by strong performance of pediatric and adult care in Advanced Medical Nutrition and by Early Life Nutrition, with notable contribution of China.

What are your expectations for 2019?

We continue to focus on our key priorities to accelerate growth, maximize efficiencies, and allocate resources with discipline. Environment volatility and raw materials inflation are likely to continue to be headwinds and in this context, we keep strengthening our operational model through portfolio valorization and cost efficiencies.

 

2019 will be a year of progress towards our 2020 objectives. The path will not be linear as a result of unbalanced growth profile of 2018.

How does Danone’s social and environmental approach support the performance?

Our 2030 goals unveiled in 2018 demonstrate again how social and environmental performance are deeply embedded in our strategic and operating model. I am particularly proud of two pioneering initiatives this year. We were able to index the payable interest on a €2-billion syndicated credit line to our ESG performance and the amount of sales covered by the B CorpTM certification. We also launched an innovative corporate social bond, which attracted significant interest from investors. Its proceeds will be allocated to projects that bring positive social impact to our stakeholders, supporting our ambition to create profitable sustainable value for all.

 

"We are fully convinced that taking a stance will offer a competitive advantage to our brands in a world where people expect transparency and are aligning their consumption choices with their beliefs".

 

Photo credit: Mathieu Beaudet