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Danone sales grow, as Asian sales buoy 2012 results, but Europe pressure weighs, job cuts loom

PARIS – French food and drink company Danone says revenues grew 5.4 per cent in 2012 but are coming under increasing pressure in economically-struggling Europe, where the company says it will cut 900 jobs across 26 countries. The company expanded in Latin America and especially Asia, where baby food sales buoyed 2012 margins.

In results released Tuesday, the Paris-based maker of Activia yogurt and Evian bottled water said ramping up production in North America for Greek-style yogurt was a big push as were higher sales of Dumex baby food in China.

Still, European sales were down 3 per cent in 2012 and operating income declined 10 per cent. The company also noted sharply higher tax bills — at a rate of 27.6 per cent — especially in France.