“Market Cap $41.79 B As of May 2014
At a Glance
- Industry: Food Processing
- Founded: 1899
- Country: France
- CEO: Franck Riboud
- Website: www.danone.com
- Employees: 104,642
- Sales: $28.28 B
- Headquarters: Paris
#242 Global 2000
- #327 in Sales
- #350 in Profit
- #559 in Assets
- #237 in Market value
#42 World’s Most Valuable Brands
#29 Innovative Companies (#25 in 2012)
Danone SA engages in the food processing industry. The company operates through the following segments: Fresh Dairy Products, Waters, Baby Nutrition, and Medical Nutrition. The Fresh Dairy Products segment produces and markets yogurts, fermented fresh dairy products, and other specialized fresh dairy products. The Waters segment is comprised of natural waters as well as flavored and vitamin-enriched water products. The Baby Nutrition segment focuses on specialized food for infants and toddlers to complement breast-feeding. It manufactures infant formula, cereal snacks, biscuits and other food products for infants. The Medical Nutrition segment focuses mainly on patients and infants afflicted with certain illnesses and frail elderly people. Its products are designed to treat disease-related malnutrition by satisfying special food needs. The company was founded on February 2, 1899 and is headquartered in Paris, France.“
The original company bearing the corporate name was founded in 1919 by Isaac Carasso, a Sephardi Jewish migrant from Salonica, in Barcelona, Spain as a small factory producing yoghurt. The brand was named Danone after Danon, the nickname of his son Daniel Carasso.
Ten years later, the company moved from Spain to neighboring France, and its first French factory was built. During the German occupation of France during World War II, Daniel moved the company to New York to avoid persecution as a result of his Jewish faith. In the United States, Daniel partnered with the Swiss-born Spaniard Joe Metzger and changed the brand name to Dannon to sound more American.
In 1951, Daniel Carasso returned to Paris to manage the family’s businesses in France and Spain, and the American business was sold to Beatrice Foods in 1959. (The American business was later repurchased by Danone in 1981.) In Europe in 1967, Danone merged with Gervais, the leading fresh cheese producer in France, and became Gervais Danone.
Another branch of the Groupe Danone descended from industrial glassmaker Boussois-Souchon-Neuvesel (BSN), which was founded by the family of Antoine Riboud. After a failed attempted takeover battle for its larger rival Saint-Gobain, Riboud transformed it into one of Europe’s leading food groups in the 1970s through a series of acquisitions and mergers, including the 1973 merger with Gervais Danone.
The acquisitions initially took the shape of vertical integration, acquiring Alsatian brewer Kronenbourg and Evian mineral water who were the glassmaker’s largest customers. This move provided content with which to fill the factory’s bottles. In 1973, the company merged with Gervais Danone and began to expand internationally. In 1979, the company abandoned glassmaking by disposing of Verreries Boussois. In 1987, Gervais Danone acquired European biscuit manufacturer Général Biscuit, owners of the LU brand, and, in 1989, it bought out the European biscuit operations of Nabisco.
In 1994, BSN changed its name to Groupe Danone, adopting the name of the group’s best-known international brand. Franck Riboud succeeded his father, Antoine, as the company’s chairman and chief executive officer in 1996 when Riboud senior retired. Under Riboud junior, the company continued to pursue its focus on three product groups (dairy, beverages, and cereals) and divested itself of several activities which had become non-core.
In 1999 and 2003, the group sold 56% and 44%, respectively, of its glass-containers business. In 2000, the group also sold most of its European beer activities (the brand Kronenbourg and the brand 1664 were sold to Scottish & Newcastle for £1.7 billion; its Italian cheese and meat businesses (Egidio Galbani Spa) were sold in March 2002; as were its beer producing activities in China. The company’s British (Jacob’s) and Irish biscuit operations were sold to United Biscuits in September 2004. In August 2005, the Group sold its sauces business in the United Kingdom and in the United States (HP Foods), in January 2006, its sauces business in Asia (Amoy Food) was sold to Ajinomoto. Despite these divestitures, Danone continues to expand internationally in its three core business units, emphasising health and well-being products.
In July 2007, it was announced that Danone had reached agreement with Kraft to sell its biscuits division, including the LU and Prince brands, for around €5.3 billion. Also in July 2007, a €12.3 billion cash offer by Danone for the Dutch baby food and clinical nutrition company Numico was agreed to by both boards, creating the world’s second largest manufacturer of baby food.
In 2012, Danone Group got more bad financial exposure than its rivals which more than a half Danone sales came from Europe and about 38 percent came from West Europe. In mid-February 2013 Danone Group announced to cut 900 jobs or about 3.3 percent of their 27,000 Europe workforce.“
*Information from Forbes.com and Wikipedia.org
**Video published on YouTube by “Danone Downtoearth“