PARIS, Oct 17 (Reuters) - French food group Danone said on Tuesday that underlying sales growth accelerated in the third quarter, led by a strong recovery in demand for infant food formula and water products in China.
The world's largest yoghurt maker, whose brands include Actimel and Activia, nevertheless said that challenging conditions had impacted its dairy business in Brazil. The dairy business slightly improved in North America although its sales trend remained negative.
Danone, the latest European consumer goods group under pressure from investors calling for better returns, reiterated its full-year guidance, and gave more details on this.
It now expected 2017 recurring earnings per share (EPS) growth to exceed 12 percent at constant exchange rates, having previously forecast double-digit growth.
Third-quarter sales reached 6.454 billion euros ($7.60 billion), with like-for-like sales growth of 4.7 percent compared to 0.2 percent in the second quarter.
The performance came above the company-compiled average of analyst estimates for 2.8 percent growth in group sales.
For 2017, Danone also reiterated it expected a "moderate" like-for-like sales growth and a "sustained" improvement on recurring operating margins on a like-for-like basis.
($1 = 0.8490 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)