April 2019 marks a year since Moroccans launched a campaign against Central Danone and other two other firms.
Rabat – The boycott Moroccans launched in April 2018 against Central Danone is still affecting the company’s sales in Morocco and its global performance.
The French company said that its sales rose 0.8 percent in the first quarter of 2019 to €6.14 billion, marking a slowdown from its 2.4% growth in the fourth quarter of last year.
Danone said its low growth was due to “setbacks” in Morocco and China, with less demand for infant formula products in China.
The company is hoping for a better performance to finish 2019 strong.
“The start of the year is relatively modest, as expected, but this puts the spotlight on very ambitious targets. The second half will be crucial,” said Roche-Brune Asset Management fund manager Gregoire Laverne.
In February, the company reported lower growth in 2018 due to the campaign. Danone’s “like-for-like” sales growth was up 2.9% from 2017, but the company calculated it would have been up 3.6% if it were not for the Moroccan boycott.
In response to the boycott, Central Danone promised Moroccans solutions to reduce its product prices.
The boycott targeted two other companies, mineral water company Sidi Ali and Afriquia Gas oil company. Boycotters claimed the companies were hiking prices and their product prices exceeded boycotters’ purchasing power.
Central Danone launched a consulting campaign with consumers in cities across Morocco, including Casablanca, Marrakech, and Rabat.
The boycott also led to the visit of Danone’s general director, Emmanuel Faber, who came to Morocco in 2018 to personally speak with citizens and ask them what measures Danone had to take to end the boycott.
Senior Moroccan officials urged citizens to end the boycott on Central Danone because it employs many small farmers, who were affected by the boycott.
The Moroccan government also said that the boycott would discourage foreign investors.