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Sales of French company Danone peak as Chinese mums buy baby formula

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(Photo : Reuters)

The French food group Danone said on Tuesday that the explosion in demand for baby formula in China has helped lift sales by 4.3 percent in the first quarter of the year, to 5.3 billion euros.


"As we expected, the first quarter of 2013 saw a solid performance that highlighted once again the contrast between robust growth in emerging markets and the sluggish economy in Europe," Danone chief executive Franck Riboud said in a statement.

"In Asia, growth reached record highs, particularly in Baby Nutrition" he said.
The sector has grown by 17.1 percent worldwide.

Imported baby formula is popular with Chinese families because of concerns about the safety of food processed in China following a series of scandals, notably in 2008 when six babies died from drinking milk tainted with the chemical melamine.

"The demand in Asia and particularly in China was very strong for local brands which we are in the process of reinforcing," said Financial Director Pierre-Andre Terisse in a conference call.

Meanwhile in Europe, the company is in the process of changing its portfolio and costs to adapt to the 5.3 percent slide in eurozone sales, he added.