Yoghurt maker Danone said a recovery begun in 2015 continued in the first quarter with sales up on the back of improvements in the US and Europe.

The world’s largest yoghurt maker by revenue reported like-for-like sales growth of 3.5 per cent reflecting “stable or improving underlying trends across all our businesses” on Tuesday, writes the FT’s John Murray Brown.

The producer of Activia yoghurt and Evian water said total sales came in at €5.3bn, although this was down 3 per cent on a reported basis due to the negative effects of foreign currency movements.

The company said there were “negative trends in currencies including the Argentine peso, the Brazilian real, the Mexican peso and the Russian ruble,”

The fresh dairy products division, which accounts for about half total sales, reported sales up 2.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis, with volume declines of 2.1 per cent more than offset by price gains of 4.4 per cent.

In dairy, the US achieved “strong growth” with gains in market share. In Europe the company said it was relaunching Danonino, Actimel and Activia “with a view to stabilizing sales in Europe by the end of 2016″. In Latin America, a slowdown in Brazil linked to difficult economic conditions was offset by solid results in Mexico and Argentina.

Danone said it expected economic conditions to remain volatile and uncertain overall, with fragile or even deflationary consumer trends in Europe, and emerging markets undermined by volatile currencies. It also anticipates raw material price cost increases.

Danone said it was targeting sales growth for 2016 of between 3-5 per cent and improving trading margins. Emmanuel Faber, chief executive, added:

After solid 2015 results, Q1 2016 results confirm my confidence that Danone, with our Executive Committee and all our teams, is fully engaged in the right direction to keep adapting our growth model to ensure strong, profitable and sustainable growth as we move towards 2020, and to deliver another year of success in 2016.

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