Danone restructures business, plans to become ‘local first’

Antoine Antoniol | Bloomberg | Getty Images

French food group Danone SA announced new cost-savings targets on Monday and said it planned to become a more “local-first” organization worldwide, as part of efforts to adapt to a post COVID-19 market.

The world’s largest yoghurt company announced its intention ahead of an online investor meeting, the first in a series of updates covering plans announced last month.

To ensure decisions are pushed down to a local level, Danone International will be organized under five zones – Europe, Asia/Africa and Middle East, Greater China and Oceania, CIS and Turkey and Latin America.

In addition to giving local business units more autonomy, the company announced six additions to its executive committee and forecast 1 billion euros ($1.19 billion) in cost savings by 2023, including a 20% reduction in overhead costs.

It would also target a mid-term recurring operating margin at a mid-to-high teen level, targeting 15% in 2022.

The maker of Activia yoghurt and Evian water reiterated its 2020 full-year guidance for 14% recurring operating margin and the delivery of 1.8 billion euro free cash flow.

The company wants to turnaround performance that has suffered in the pandemic due to fewer people buying bottled water or specialised nutrition products in China.


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