The French food and drink group Danone has announced a 4.1% lift in sales for its first quarter, compared to the same period last year, to €3.583 billion (US$3.2 billion).
 
Danone went on to say that for 2002 it foresees sales growth of at least 5.2% and an increase of four to five percentage points in the 2001 operating margin of 11.1%.
Sales growth was particularly strong in Asia, up 10%, and Western Europe, up 5%. But growth was flat in American markets.
 
Danone is reported to be in talks with Coca-Cola that would make the US soft-drink giant the sole importer and distributor of Evian mineral water in the US.

Danone has not commented on the report.