Danone announces that, as a successful outcome to the transaction previously communicated on February 14th, 2018, it has sold a total of 24,600,000 shares of Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd. (“Yakult”), for an aggregate amount of JPY175 billion gross proceeds, representing c.€1.3 billion, and corresponding to a valuation multiple of 39 times Yakult’s 2017 net income. In line with Danone’s capital allocation priorities, proceeds from the transaction will be used to continue on its deleveraging path and to invest in accelerating organic growth and maximizing efficiencies towards 2020 for sustainable value creation.
As a result of the transaction, Danone’s stake in Yakult’s outstanding share capital is reduced from 21.29% to 6.61%. The investment will continue to be accounted for using the equity method under IFRS.
Danone and Yakult will maintain their long-term partnership and enhance their collaboration activities. Danone remains Yakult’s largest shareholder and will nominate two directors for approval at the Annual General Meeting of shareholders.
With the transitional period of enhanced Chairmanship coming to an end this year as previously announced, Danone’s Board of Directors has unanimously voted to combine the functions of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Emmanuel Faber, who has served as CEO since 2014, has been appointed Chairman and CEO of Danone, effective 1 December 2017. Mr. Faber will succeed Franck Riboud as Chairman.
Mr. Riboud will become Honorary Chairman of Danone and will continue to serve as a Director of the company and a member of the Strategic Committee of the Board. Current Director Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO of Air Liquide, will succeed Mr. Riboud as Chairman of the Strategic Committee.
In addition, on the scheduled expiration of his term in April 2018, current Lead Independent Director Jean Laurent, 73, will not stand for re-election. The Nomination and Compensation Committee is in the final stages of identifying Mr. Laurent’s successor. Danone also intends to expand the duties and responsibilities of the Lead Independent Director in order to further reinforce its balanced Board leadership structure. These changes are part of the Board’s ongoing and proactive focus on its composition and refreshment, with the aim of continuing to have the most relevant international and consumer sector expertise on the Board to ensure impactful contributions, while meeting the highest independence and diversity criteria.
Danone has reported marginal sales growth of 0.4% in the first six months of the year.
In the second quarter of the year, consolidated sales stood at €6,664 million, up 0.2% on a like-for-like basis, reflecting a 2.1% decline in volume and a 2.3% rise in value.
Danone’s dairy and plant-based operations reported a drop in sales of 1.8% in the second quarter of 2017, as a result of a 4.8% decline in volume and 3% rise in value.
In Europe, Danone made investments in its Activia brand, with changes to packaging and local communication campaigns. It notes that local yoghurt brands such as Les deux caches in France, Light & Free in the UK, Danio in Poland and Benelux, and Oikas in Italy saw continued growth.
Privately-owned French dairy giant Lactalis has entered into an agreement to acquire US organic dairy business Stonyfield from Danone for US$ 875m.
French food group Danone said it banked on synergies from its acquisition of U.S. organic food producer WhiteWave and on a one billion euro cost-cutting plan to lift its recurring operating margin above 16 percent of sales in 2020.
The world’s largest yoghurt maker made the forecast in a statement issued on the last of a two-day seminar in Evian, eastern France, to detail its long-term strategy.
Danone also said it targeted overall like-for-like sales growth of between 4 percent and 5 percent in 2020 against 2.9 percent in 2016. Its operating margin stood at 13.77 percent last year.
Danone unveiled in July 2016 plans to buy WhiteWave – maker of Silk almond milk and Earthbound Farm Organic salad – in its largest acquisition since 2007, a move it said would double the size of its U.S. business. The deal finally closed on April 12.
Whitewave’s products have outperformed mainstream packaged food businesses in recent years as they are in line with a consumer shift toward natural foods and healthier eating and should help Danone as it struggles with challenging conditions in dairy in Europe and babyfood in China.
China’s largest dairy company Yili Group said the other day it will bid “about $850m” for Stonyfield, the US organic yoghurt company owned by France’s Danone.
Yili had a turnover of $9.3bn in 2015, according to Rabobank, making it China’s largest dairy group, and the tenth largest in the world.
Consolidated sales stood at €5,464 million, up 0.7%. Fresh Dairy Products €2,741 million up 2.4%.
In Europe, sales continued to be impacted by difficult market conditions and Activia’s performance. As announced in February, there will be new product launches in Activia’s range.
Danone and WhiteWave combine their activities for North America to operate as a Strategic Business Unit, named “DanoneWave”. As previously disclosed, the combination will include Danone Dairy’s and WhiteWave’s current North American businesses under the leadership of Lorna Davis, who has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the combined entity.
Danone and WhiteWave will now combine their activities in North America to operate as a Strategic Business Unit, named “DanoneWave”. As previously announced, the combination will include Danone Dairy’s and WhiteWave’s current North American businesses under the leadership of Lorna Davis, who has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the combined entity. Alpro will join forces with Danone Dairy as a key pillar of its new plant-based category, managed by Gustavo Valle, with the aim to expand and grow the plant-based category around the world.
Danone and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation have joined a partnership aimed at accelerating the global transition to a circular economy.
For decades, conventional supply chains have been linear; taking, making and disposing of resources often to landfill. With the global population set to reach nine billion by 2050, access to quality food and water is becoming an increasing challenge.
Founded in 2010 by renowned yachtswoman, Dame Ellen MacArthur, the Foundation works to accelerate the transition to a circular economy, collaborating with businesses, government and academia to build a framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design.
As the Foundation’s ninth Global Partner, Danone will embark on a three-year partnership to further embed circular economy principles both inside and outside Danone. It marks an important step in Danone’s quest to produce quality products that preserve natural resources cycles, while also enabling future growth for the business.
The European Commission past Friday cleared France’s Danone to proceed with its $10.4 billion purchase of U.S. organic food producer WhiteWave, subject to it selling a business in Belgium.
Danone will sell a large part of its ”growing-up milk” business in Belgium, as the Commission said only Nestle would have remained as a competitor in the country otherwise.