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PARIS, April 15 (Reuters) - Danone said on Wednesday that underlying first-quarter sales rose 4.8 percent, beating expectations, driven by a recovery in baby food sales in Asia and robust growth in waters.
The world's largest yoghurt maker, with brands including Actimel and Activia, said it expected economic conditions to stay difficult with deflationary consumer trends to continue in Europe, however, and kept its full-year sales and profitability goals.
The quarterly year-on-year rise marked a slight acceleration from 4.7 percent like-for-like growth in the fourth quarter of 2014, Danone said.
The performance beat the company-compiled average of analyst estimates of 4.6 percent growth in group sales.
Total sales, which include the effects of foreign exchange fluctuations, reached 5.471 billion euros ($5.81 billion), a rise of 8.1 percent on a reported basis.
Danone kept its 2015 target of like-for-like sales growth of between 4 and 5 percent. It stuck to a forecast for a slight rise in its 2015 operating margin from 12.59 percent in 2014. ($1 = 0.9410 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by James Regan)