PARIS (Reuters) – Danone raised its turnover growth forecast for 2023 on Thursday after recording a stronger than expected increase in the third quarter, driven by the increase in prices which only had a slight impact on volumes .

The agri-food group now expects an increase in sales of between 6% and 7% on a comparable basis for the whole year compared to a forecast of between 4% and 6% previously.

It confirmed its objective of a “moderate improvement” in the current operating margin over 2023.

“We continue to look to the future with confidence, despite a complex environment,” commented the general director, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, in a press release.

In the third quarter, turnover reached 6.9 billion euros, with a price effect of +6.6% and a volume/mix effect down by 0.3%.

On a like-for-like basis, turnover increased by 6.2% while analysts on average expected an increase of 4.7% according to a consensus provided by the company.

Based on published data, revenues fell by 5.8%, due to a strong currency effect and the deconsolidation of EDP operations in Russia in July.

On the Paris Stock Exchange, Danone shares gained 1.65% to 55.78 euros at 10:02 a.m., among the strongest increases in the CAC 40, down 0.85% at the same time.

Jefferies analysts welcomed the reassuring results for the group’s recovery, with JPMorgan analysts estimating that this should lead to a revaluation of the consensus results.

Danone’s performance contrasts with that of competitor Nestlé, which last week announced lower-than-expected sales growth for the first nine months of the year, as rising product prices discouraged consumers and weighed on volumes.

The other European consumer giant Unilever unveiled a reorganization plan on Thursday after admitting to having underperformed in recent years. The stock lost more than 2% on the London Stock Exchange.

(Written by Blandine Hénault, edited by Tangi Salaün and Kate Entringer)

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