Danone (DANOY) shares fell to a one-month low Friday as disappointing sales in its yogurt division weighed on first quarter performance and offset a boost in the company's full-year earnings forecast linked to the recent takeover of WhiteWave.
Danone, the world's biggest yogurt maker, reported like-for-like sales growth of 0.7% in the first quarter across the group to €5.5 billion, in its earnings release after the markets closed on Thursday. There was a 2.6% decline in volume across the group. Danone said it's now targeting double-digit recurring EPS growth at constant exchange rates, instead of a rise of "at least 5%" it had targeted in February before WhiteWave was included.
Investors, however, were not impressed by Danone's increase to its guidance for recurring earnings-per-share growth for 2017, on the back of it completion of WhiteWave and priced the stock 2.1% lower by 11:30 CET in Paris at €62.36, the weakest level since March 17. The decline outpaced the jittery CAC 40 benchmark, which was down 0.9% following Thursday night attack on a police officer on the Champs-Elysees and ahead of the first round of the presidential election on Sunday.
Jefferies analysts Martin Deboo said the inclusion of WhiteWave in like-for-like sales figures for this year was a "a signal of a lack of confidence in the core top line."
The French 'national champion' was also particularly hard hit in its Fresh Diary division, where like-for-like sales decreased by 2.3% and volumes fell by 5.3%.