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Danone food manufacturer reports sales totals for Q3

BY Jenna Duncan

PARIS Danone, international maker and distributor of dairy products, baby foods and other food items, has reported an increase of its by 8.3 percent for the third quarter.

The company said that its dairy business experienced growth of 8.2 percent in the third quarter and also saw a growth in volumes. Medical nutrition surpassed expectations by gorwing by 11.7 percent, the company said. Danone’s bottled water sales grew by 3.7 percent for the third quarter. The company attributed the slow spot to challenges in Western Europe. Danone’s strongest category was in baby nutrition, which grew 12.7 percent in the third quarter 2008.

“With a sales growth of 8.3 percent, the performance of the Group in the third quarter was solid and satisfactory and allows us to confirm our targets for 2008,” Franck Riboud, chairman and chief executive officer of Groupe Danone said. “This performance again reflects the relevance of the business lines we have chosen to be in and the geographic priorities we have set. It also shows the ability of our teams to adapt quickly to changing consumption patterns and markets. Our financial strength, competitive advantages and our unique culture provide us confidence in our ability to cope with this phase of difficult economic circumstances that we have entered.”

Groupe Danone’s detailed Annual Report, including risks and revenue overviews, is available at www.danone.com.

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MillerCoors cans Zima malt beverage

BY Jenna Duncan

MILWAUKEE MillerCoors has closed its Zima malt beverage manufacturing line in Memphis due to soft sales, the company has said.

Zima has been on the market since 1994. But declining interest in the sugary, soft-drink-like beverage has declined, despite launches of brand extensions such as Zima Pineapple Citrus and Zima Tangerine.

“This decision is necessary to reduce complexity when it comes to our brand portfolio, allowing for more focused activity at retail on consumer-preferred brands, especially Sparks,” a statement released by MillerCoors on Monday said.

Citrus-flavored, caffeinated Sparks, a malt beverage competitor also owned by Miller, has enjoyed sweeping sales since its 2002 launch.

The final batches of remaining bottles of Zima will be shipped to wholesale distributors centers in December.

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Mars names Petrovich new chief exec of Wrigley

BY Jenna Duncan

MCLEAN, Va. Just on the heels of the completion of its acquisition of the Wm. Wrigley Jr. candy and gum business, Mars has moved a Wrigley veteran into to head Wrigley, the company announced Monday.

Dushan Petrovich has taken over as president and chief executive officer, succeeding William Perez. Perez will continue to serve in an advisory position and will be given a severance package of more than $25 million, the company said.

Perez was the first chief executive of Wrigley who was not related to the founding family. He was tapped for the position in 2006. Prior to his post at Wrigley, Perez served as chief executive officer of Nike.

Petrovich has been with Wrigley 30 years, starting in the financial department and later serving as corporate treasurer, among other positions. Mostly recently has served as the company’s chief administrative officer and senior vice president.

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