Groupe Danone has a budget of E500m-E1bn a year to spend on acquisitions in the next three to five years.

Antoine Giscard D'Estaing, chief financial officer of the French foods group, said that the company was looking at small and medium sized purchases which would grow the number of countries it operates in from 40 to 80.

He added that Danone was looking at acquisitions in Chile, Tunisia, Thailand, China and Eastern Europe.