French food and drink group, Danone, whose portfolio of brands include Aptamil, Evian and Activa yoghurt, today (Thursday, February 22) reported a surge in net sales for 2023 to €27.62 billion.

The group, which has invested an estimated €250 million over the last 10 years in its Irish operations, grew its sales in 2023 by 7% on a like for like basis.

This was driven by a 7.4% increase in prices, boosted, according to Danone, by “hyperinflation”.

The French group, which has four core business divisions – dairy and plant-based products, early life nutrition, medical nutrition and waters – saw strong growth last year across its key markets with China, North Asia and Oceania in particular delivering double digit growth of 10.1%.

In its latest set of full-year results Danone also detailed a record level of free-cash-flow at €2.6 billion for 2023 which the French group has stated would enable “investments and deleverage”.

Its Irish operations, which employ 750 people, include two key factories in Macroom and Wexford.

The well known infant formulas Cow & Gate and Aptamil are produced in Macroom and finished and packaged in Wexford, before being supplied to world wide markets.

Wexford, which claims to be the first carbon neutral baby formula plant in the world, is currently one of the biggest manufacturing plants in the Danone specialised nutrition network.


Antoine de Saint-Affrique, Danone’s chief executive, said today that 2023 was a year of “consistent progress” for the group

“We put science back at the heart of what we do and further tied sustainability to business performance.

“We made significant progress in sharpening our portfolio,” he added.

According to the group’s chief executive Danone is starting 2024 “with confidence in our Renew strategy”.

Looking ahead the French group said the outlook for 2024 is currently “in line with mid-term ambition” and it expects to see like-for-like sales growth of between 3% to 5% “with moderate improvement in recurring operating margin”.

It has proposed a dividend of €2.10, up 5.0%.