Danone faced with the effects of inflation
During the inauguration of the new Danone research center in Saclay (Essonne) at the beginning of February, the general manager, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, presented a new yogurt, called “Hipro Expert”. A product developed specifically for athletes with the Paris Olympics in 2024 in sight, of which the company is a sponsor. This high-protein yoghurt is presented as one of the ingredients in Danone’s recipe for getting back on the path to growth and increasing its profitability.
This course was set by Mr. de Saint-Affrique a year ago. The new boss of the French agri-food group, in office since September 2021, then presented his roadmap, “Renew Danone”. This three-year plan aims, among other things, to relaunch innovation, clean up the product portfolio and reinvest in the group’s flagship brands such as Activia, Evian, Blédina, Badoit, Alpro and Hipro. On this occasion, cutting speculation short, he had reinforced the strategic positioning of the flagship of the CAC 40 in its four businesses: fresh and vegetable dairy products, bottled water, infant food and specialized nutrition.
In this context, 2022 was considered a year of transition. The annual results published on Wednesday February 22 prove it. Turnover jumped 7.8% like-for-like to reach 27.6 billion euros. This increase is mainly due to an increase in product prices during a period of high inflation. As for the operating margin, it is, as expected, down, falling from 13.7% to 12.2%. “The year 2022 was marked by a difficult external environment and unprecedented volatility. For Danone, it was also a year of profound transformation and solid performance”commented Mr. de Saint-Affrique in a press release.
Another highlight of the year, the net profit of the group has melted, from 1.9 billion to 959 million euros. However, shareholders will benefit from a slight boost in the dividend, set at 2 euros against 1.9 euros a year earlier. The decline in net income is largely due to disposal transactions. Danone has definitively ended its Chinese adventure with its partner Mengniu and had to depreciate certain minority investments in joint subsidiaries. The company has also provisioned in its accounts for the depreciation of its Russian dairy and vegetable products subsidiary in the amount of 500 million euros.
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