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French yogurt maker Danone says sales up 4.3 pct

PARIS (AP) -- French food and drink company Danone says its sales rose 4.3 percent in the first quarter of the year, driven by growth in new markets that offset struggles in Europe.

The company behind Activia yogurt said Tuesday it brought in 5.3 billion euros ($6.9 billion) in revenue in the January-to-March period. Sales are booming in Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, where revenue grew 13.2 percent.

But nearly 40 percent of Danone's comes from Europe, where the poor economy has hit retailers. Sales fell 5.2 percent there in the first quarter. Danone indicated that none of its divisions was doing well in Europe, but that its core business of fresh dairy products was especially struggling.

The company said its cost-cutting plan, including eliminating 900 jobs, was on track.