Danone, the French dairy and drinks group, has said like-for-like revenue grew 8.3% in the third quarter, despite a tough three months for its bottled water brands.

Net sales rose to EUR2.9bn (US$3.7bn) for the three months ended 30 September, Danone announced today (22 October).

It said the rise kept the firm on-track to meet full-year guidance, with underlying net sales for the first nine months of 2008 up 9.2%.

The group increase disguised a slowdown in Danone's bottle water division, however. Sales rose by just 2% in the third quarter, boosted by a near 6% jump in volumes, but hampered by tough conditions in Western Europe.

Markets in the UK, France and Spain were particularly difficult, Danone said, adding that volume sales for Europe declined during the quarter.

Double-digit rises in emerging markets, especially Indonesia, Mexico and Argentina, helped to offset the downturn, the firm said.

It added that group sales for 2008 were expected to rise by between 8% and 10%.