Groupe Danone is the world market leader for fresh dairy products, and, in volume terms, a worldwide co-leader in the bottled water market. It is also ranked second in biscuits and cereal products. Main brands include Danone, Actimel, Activia, Danonino and Vitalinea in fresh dairy products, Evian, Volvic, Wahaha and Aqua in bottled waters, and LU in biscuits and cereal products. The three leading brands Danone, Evian and LU account for around 48% of sales.
Up to 1996 Groupe Danone's growth strategy focused on a series of aggressive acquisitions. From 1997 onwards, the company's focus shifted to its three core business lines. As a consequence, grocery activities, a glass container business, the cheese and cured meat activities of Galbani and beer activities in Europe were sold off between 1997 and 2002. More recent acquisitions were tactical in nature and focused on SMEs in Danone's core areas of business. Most recently, the company entered the Thai fresh dairy market in a strategic partnership with Dutch Mill in January 2007. In addition, the company identified five countries: China, Indonesia, Russia, Mexico and, for dairy products, the US, that offer significant potential for its products. These countries were selected as the new frontiers in Danone's drive for continued organic growth. Through international expansion, a broader geographical balance was achieved, making the company less dependent on its home market, which has shown a lack in growth in recent years. In 2006, 80% of sales were achieved outside France. In the French market, Danone aims to gain market share by focusing on the ongoing health and wellness trend. In February 2007 Danone launched its new Essensis' yoghurt brand in France, presenting it as the first mainstream food product claiming to be beneficial for the skin. Although currently generating around 56% of its total revenues, Danone has predicted that its chilled dairy products will represent 65% of its turnover within five years.
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