Dairy Business Helps Danone Sales

French food group Danone said on Wednesday nine month like-for-like sales rose 7 percent as firm growth in its dairy business offset a drop in drinks sales due to a poor summer in Europe and a dispute at its Chinese Wahaha joint venture.

Danone said sales in the nine months to Sept. 30 were 11.241 billion euros ($15.97 billion) compared with 10.772 billion euros a year earlier and slightly below the 11.256 billion euros average of nine analysts' forecasts surveyed by Reuters.

Danone said third quarter like-for-like sales grew 3.9 percent, the slowest rate in about five years, as the dispute with its Chinese partner forced it to estimate sales at Wahaha and poor weather cut demand for bottled water in France by about 20 percent.

The figures include the LU biscuits business which Danone is in the process of selling.