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Research and Markets: France's Trade Body Federation Des Exportateurs De Vins et Spiritueux (FEVS) has Announced that Wine and Spirit Exports Fell by 30% in the First Quarter of 2009.

DUBLIN -- Research and Markets (http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/90baf2/france_food_and_dr) has announced the addition of the "France Food and Drink Report Q4 2009" report to their offering.

The France Food and Drink Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, food and drink associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on France's food and drink industry.

The analyst has revised upwards its 2009 and 2010 growth forecasts for France on the back of preliminary Q209 data. Most impressive was the resilience of the consumer (where private consumption rose by 0.3% quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q), up from 0.2% in Q109), combined with a dramatic turnaround in exports (from -7.1% q-o-q in Q1 to 1.0%). Our 2009 real GDP growth forecast now stands at -2.6% (previously -3.0%), while the 2010 projection is 0.5% (previously 0.0%).

However, the country's food and drink operators have not emerged unscathed. During the quarter, France's fourth-largest Champagne house Laurent-Perrier reported a 45% drop in net profits for the 12 months to the end of March on the back of a 27% decline in revenues to EUR181mn (US$257mn). The fall is in line with a widespread decline in demand for France's alcohol exports. Trade body Federation des Exportateurs de Vins et Spiritueux (FEVS) has announced that wine and spirit exports fell by 30% in the first quarter of 2009, and that it expects exports over the year as a whole to be 20% lower than in 2008. Demand has fallen across nearly every market, with FEVS Deputy Director General Renaud Gaillard revealing that China and Hong Kong were the only regions not to register a decline. Premium drinks have been particularly hard hit with Gaillard revealing that shipments of Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Cotes du Rhone wines and Cognac all falling significantly.

At the end of July, Groupe Danone reported increased sales and profits for the first half of 2009. Sales to the end of June rose by 1.6% to come in at EUR7.5bn (US$10.7bn) while net profits were up by 3% to EUR722mn (US$1bn), if capital gains are excluded. Danone managed to reverse a decline in quarterly sales volumes at its dairy unit, which accounts for more than half of group profits. Up until the second quarter of 2009, volumes at Danone's dairy unit had declined for five successive quarters. Dairy accounts for 58% of its revenues and is the company's most important driver of profits. In addition to lowering prices of its core portfolio, which include brands such as Actimel and Activia, Danone has introduced lower cost products, such as 'Eco-Pack' in France, a strategy likely to continue.

The current market conditions are putting many dairy producers under strain and pushing companies to consolidate. Indeed, French dairy group Lactalis is reportedly poised to strike for struggling French rival Entremont Alliance. However, trade unions have suggested that the move could face regulatory hurdles as it would give Lactalis a monopoly in the French market for emmental. Lactalis has been among the most active consolidators in the last 12 months with acquisitions in France, Croatia, Poland, Romania and Switzerland. The firm appears intent on maintaining this acquisition drive and in June, following the demise of UK-based Dairy Farmers of Britain (DFoB), Lactalis snapped up the firm's highly prized Lubborn Cheese dairy, which brought with it DfoB's best known brand, Seriously Strong Cheddar. Lactalis's move for the struggling Entremont would continue this strategy, adding weight to its portfolio of cheese brands for what can be expected to be a bargain price. The current market conditions are likely to throw up similar opportunities in the next 12 months, and the analyst does not expect Lactalis to be the only opportunist in town, with all of the world's top players likely to be pushing to expand so as to reap the benefits of a recovering global economy and an expanding dairy market.

Key Topics Covered:

* EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

* SWOT ANALYSIS

* BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

* FOOD

* DRINK

* MASS GROCERY RETAIL

* COMPETITIVE LANDSCAPE

* APPENDIX

* COUNTRY SNAPSHOT: FRANCE DEMOGRAPHIC DATA

* FOOD & DRINK METHODOLOGY

Companies Mentioned:

* Groupe Danone

* Nestle France

* LVMH Group (Mo[R]t Hennessy Louis Vuitton)

* Pernod Ricard

* Carrefour

* Groupe Auchan

* Groupe Casino

For more information visit http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/90baf2/france_food_and_dr
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 16, 2009
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