France's Danone to sells US dairy business for €769m

Dominique Vidalon

French food group Danone has agreed to sell its USdairy business Stonyfield to Lactalis for $875m (€769m), a move designed to address competition concerns stemming from its acquisition of US organic food group WhiteWave.

Danone said on Monday that Stonyfield had around $370m in turnover in 2016, and that the sale price represented a multiple of around 20 times the 2016 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for Stonyfield.

Danone shares were up 1pc in mid-session trading, in line with a similar rise on the CAC-40 index of French blue chips stocks.

"The sale price appears reasonable and we expect proceeds would reduce leverage largely offsetting dilution from the disposal," Liberum analysts wrote in a research note.

"Danone remains on track to deliver 10pc five-year CAGR (compound annual growth rate) driven in part by WhiteWave and significant savings from the €1 billion Project Protein efficiency program," they added.

Danone's 'Project Protein' savings program, unveiled earlier this year, aims to cut costs by €1 billion over the next three years.

Jefferies analysts added that the Stonyfield sale was "a decent exit and the removal of a potential distraction for Danone."

Earlier this year, Danone had said it would sell Stonyfield as part of an agreement with US authorities to facilitate its takeover of WhiteWave.

Get the latest news from the Farming Independent team 3 times a week.

The deal is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2017.


For Stories Like This and More
Download the Free Farming Independent App