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Higher Milk Prices Tamp Down Danone Sales Growth

French food group Danone reported a slowdown in first-quarter sales growth on Wednesday, as sales volumes at its core dairy division were hit by the company passing on higher milk prices and sales in the baby food business also fell, though less sharply than feared.However, the group maintained its forecasts of like-for-like sales growth this year of 4.5-5.5 percent and an operating margin changing by no more than 0.2 percentage points either way, from 13.19 percent of sales last year, as it was aiming for a return to "strong, sustainable, profitable growth" in the second half.The world's largest yoghurt maker, whose brands include Actimel and Activia, makes 60 percent of its revenue in dairy, a sector hit by a spike in milk prices.Danone is also currently trying to rebuild its positions in the high-margin baby food division in China after an infant formula product recall in Asia last year hit sales.Like-for-like group sales adjusted for currency effects and acquisitions rose 2.2 perce...

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