Groupe Danone, the French dairy and water giant, has said that it expects to achieve above-market growth in all of its business sectors next year, despite worsening economic conditions.

Like-for-like sales growth in 2009 is likely to be a few points lower than this year's projected 8-10% increase, Danone said at an investor seminar in Paris, held yesterday and today (6 November).

Emmanuel Faber, co-chief operating officer, said volatile financial markets would impact performance at the firm, which owns Evian and Volvic water.

She said the group was confident that it could deliver growth above market averages in each of its categories, however.

Regarding 2008, she added: "Despite the current turmoil in world economies, we are fully confident to reach our 2008 full year targets."

The group expects like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter to rise by 5-6%, with earnings per share growth for the full-year at 15%.

Danone lifted bottled water revenue by 2% during the third quarter. But, the French firm said that it had suffered volume decline in Europe, with the UK, France and, to a lesser extent, Spain proving difficult markets.

Independent analyst James Amoroso told just-drinks that the French situation was "worrying" for Danone, with signs of a "creeping structural change" towards "commoditisation" on the domestic water market.