Groupe Danone has reiterated its sales and profits targets for this year.

Speaking to shareholders at its annual meeting earlier this week, Pierre-Andre Terisse, the France-based company's CFO, said Danone expects total sales for 2008 to rise by between 8% and 10% on 2007, with underlying earnings per share growth of at least 15%.

Last month, Danone, which owns the Evian and Volvic water brands, said that total group sales in the first three months of 2008 were up by 11.4% on the corresponding quarter a year, at EUR3.76bn (US$5.93bn).

Sales at the water division rose by 7%, following what a spokesperson for the company described as the "de-consolidation" of its Chinese joint venture with Hangzhou Wahaha from its financial performance. Revenue from the unit reached EUR695m, compared to EUR1.01bn in Q1 last year, when Chinese results were also factored in.

Volumes at the waters division were up by 6.8% year-on-year, with Latin America and Asia driving the rise. Growth in Europe was described as "more modest", due in part to fewer selling days than last year, as a result of an earlier Easter season, and by "softer market conditions" in France.