Groupe Danone has boosted beverage sales by 10% and reported a total company net income of EUR1.5bn (US$1.8bn) for the 2005 financial year.

The French company, which produces Evian bottled mineral water along with yoghurt and cookie products, said yesterday (14 February) that it had increased company net sales by 6.1% to take in EUR13bn, compared to EUR12.3bn the previous year. Net sales of beverages rose to EUR3.5bn, compared to EUR3.2bn in 2004.

The company's income benefited from the sale of a 33% stake in Spanish beer company Mahou in May 2005, raising EUR290m.

Danone chairman and CEO Franck Riboud said: "The robust financial performance of Groupe Danone in 2005, completely in line with our overall objectives, illustrates the strengths of our business model.

"To deliver organic growth of 6.7%, while continuing to increase the operating margin of the group, despite the problems in our principal market and the increase in certain material costs, demonstrates the relevance of our chosen business strategies."

The company forecasts net sales growth of 5-7% for the 2006 financial year.