UPDATE 1-Danone raises 2017 EPS forecast after WhiteWave acquisition

Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:45pm GMT

* Q1 l-f-l sales up 0.7 pct vs est. 0.6 pct

* Q1 l-f-l dairy sales down 2.3 pct vs est. down 2 pct

* Eyes 2017 double-digit recurring EPS growth at constant forex (Adds CFO comments from call, details)

By Dominique Vidalon

PARIS, April 20 (Reuters) - French food group Danone on Thursday raised its forecast for earnings per share (EPS) growth in 2017, having now closed its $12.5 billion acquisition of U.S. organic food producer WhiteWave foods Co.

The world's largest yoghurt maker, with brands including Actimel and Activia, made the prediction as weak dairy sales in Europe and Brazil held back sales growth in the first quarter.

Danone unveiled in July 2016 plans to buy WhiteWave - maker of Silk almond milk and Earthbound Farm Organic salad - in its largest acquisition since 2007, a move it said would double the size of its U.S. business. The deal finally closed April 12.

"2017 is a year of construction that will strengthen Danone as an even more resilient company, best prepared to seize tomorrow's opportunities," CEO Emmanuel Faber said in a statement.

Whitewave's products have outperformed mainstream packaged food businesses in recent years as they are in line with a consumer shift toward natural foods and healthier eating and should help Danone as it struggles with challenging conditions in dairy in Europe and babyfood in China.   Continued...

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