Danone reports on positive growth in 2019 figures
Danone has reported on its 2019 sales, which were €25.3 billion, up 2.6% on a reported and like-for-like basis, with a 4.1% increase in Q4 on a like-for-like basis.
The company also reached a 2.8x net debt/EBITDA one year ahead of plan. Its proposed dividend, €2.10 payable in cash, is up 8% from the previous year.
Danone’s Essential Dairy & Plant-based (EDP) posted net sales growth of 1.1% in 2019 on a like-for-like basis, while margin improved by +13bps to 10.2%.
In the fourth quarter, net sales were up by +1.5% on a like-for-like basis, including a +2.4% increase in value, and a -0.9% decline in volumes. The acceleration vs. previous quarter was driven by a general improvement in Essential Dairy and a continued strong growth in Plant-Based.
Europe went back to growth in 2019, with plant-based Alpro brand confirming its double-digit growth trend in Q4 and Essential Dairy progressively stabilizing, supported by the deployment of new brands to address new consumer tribes. North America improved to slightly positive growth in Q4, on the back of a better quarter for Yogurts in the US. Top-3 brands in the region – International Delight, Silk, and Horizon – delivered strong growth while protein powder brand Vega posted another quarter of steep double-digit decline.
In the rest of the world, CIS registered a low-single digit decline, similar to Q3. Latam posted strong growth and Morocco delivered another double-digit growth quarter, closing a year of recovery that brought the business back to market leader position.
Climate change goals
Danone has also reported that it reached its peak of full-scope carbon emissions last year – five years ahead of the company’s 2015 plan.
However, Danone’s chairman and chief executive officer, Emmanuel Faber, conveyed that the company still wants to further its environmental efforts in the coming years: “we are convinced that there is an urgent and significant opportunity to put climate actions even more at the core of our business model, truly joining people’s fight for climate and nature with the power of our brands.
“To this effect, we announce a €2 billion climate acceleration plan today, which in the next three years will further transform our agriculture, energy and operations, packaging, and digital capabilities so that we will leverage fully our climate action to generate resilient growth models for our brands.”
Danone will also act to enhance the recyclability of Essential Dairy and Plant-Based cups, targeting zero polystyrene worldwide by 2025 and zero polystyrene in Europe by 2024, starting with its Alpro brand by 2021. Those initiatives will be supported by the launch of a dedicated fund to explore next generations of packaging materials and models.