Danone plans layoffs despite 2012 sales boost | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 19.02.2013
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Danone plans layoffs despite 2012 sales boost

French food and drink company Danone has emerged as the biggest gainer on the European stock market, propelled by a sharp rise in 2012 sales. But the firm is planning to cut hundreds of jobs all the same.

French producer of food and drinks Danone on Tuesday reported a 5.4-percent surge in sales for 2012, beating analysts' expectations.

The company's shares were the biggest gainers in early Euro STOXX trading, with Danone able to add over 5 percent to its stock value.

The French firm announced it posted 1.82 billion euros ($2.43 billion) in profit adjusted for one-off effects in 2012, up 0.9 percent from 2011 levels.

Focusing on overseas markets

The Paris-based maker of Activa yogurt and Evian and Volvic bottled water conceded it only managed to increase revenues overseas, with sales in crisis-stricken Europe dipping by 1 percent.

It said ramping up production in North America for Greek-style yogurt and higher sales of Dumex baby food in China proved to be a big push for the company last year.

But because of uncertain business prospects in 2013 and beyond, Danone said it would cut 900 jobs in 26 countries over the next two years. The company added it was particularly concerned about developments in Europe and the eurozone in particular where it saw no light at the end of the tunnel yet.

hg / ccp (dpa, AP, Reuters)