Dean Foods Co. Reports Earnings Decline In First Quarter

Dean Foods Co. announced that the company earned $0.14 per diluted share, as compared to first quarter 2010 earnings of $0.24 per diluted share. On an adjusted basis, first quarter 2011 diluted earnings per share were $0.14, compared to $0.23 per diluted share earned in the prior year's first quarter.

For the first quarter of 2011, the net income attributable to Dean Foods totaled $25 million, compared to net income of $43 million in the prior year's first quarter. Adjusted net income for the first quarter was $25 million, compared to adjusted net income of $43 million in the first quarter of 2010.

"Overall, the business is off to a stronger start than we had anticipated and we are somewhat encouraged as we look to the balance of the year," said Gregg Engles, Chairman and CEO in a prepared statement. "While we have a long way to go at Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar, I am cautiously optimistic that the trajectory of our business is upward and that we are on a path for continued progress as we move through the balance of the year. In our other major segment, WhiteWave-Alpro continued to perform well, with both strong top and bottom-line growth against a tough overlap and unfavorable holiday calendar."

Net sales for the first quarter totaled $3.05 billion, compared to $2.96 billion of net sales in the first quarter of 2010. Net sales for the first quarter increased due to strong sales growth at WhiteWave-Alpro and the pass-through of higher overall dairy commodity costs that were partially offset by soft volumes at Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar.

Consolidated operating income in the first quarter totaled $106 million, compared to $120 million in the first quarter of 2010. First quarter consolidated adjusted operating income totaled $107 million, compared to $123 million in the first quarter of 2010. The decline in first quarter consolidated adjusted operating income was due to a $15 million decline in operating income at Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar and a $5 million increase in Corporate expense, offset by $3 million of operating income growth at WhiteWave-Alpro.

Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar fluid milk volumes decreased by 2.4 percent in the first quarter, compared to industry overall that experienced a volume decline of approximately 1.2 percent on a year over year basis, based on USDA data and Company estimates. Total volumes from the segment declined 3.8 percent from the first quarter of 2010, including approximately 0.5 percent from the divestiture of the Mountain High yogurt business. The soft volume in the quarter was offset by the pass-through of higher average commodity costs in the quarter resulting in Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar net sales of $2.54 billion, a 2 percent increase from $2.49 billion in net sales for the first quarter of 2010. The first quarter average Class I mover was $16.44 per hundred-weight, 3 percent below the previous quarter and 12 percent above the first quarter of 2010.

Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar operating income in the first quarter was $111 million, a decrease of 12 percent from the $127 million reported in the first quarter of 2010. Volume weakness across the portfolio and continued pricing pressure offset strong progress on the company's cost reduction initiatives to result in the decline in operating income in the quarter.

For the first quarter of 2011, the WhiteWave-Alpro segment reported net sales of $507 million, 7 percent higher than first quarter 2010 net sales of $474 million due to continued strong growth across the product portfolio. Among the key brands at WhiteWave-Alpro, net sales of Horizon Organic® branded milk increased slightly more than 20 percent in the first quarter. Branded creamer sales, which includes both International Delight® and Land O'Lakes® creamers, increased in the mid-single digits on continued strength behind International Delight innovation, despite an unfavorable holiday calendar in the quarter. Silk® sales increased mid-single digits on continued strength of Silk PureAlmond® and Silk PureCoconut®. Alpro sales increased mid-single digits in the quarter on a constant currency basis, as well as after currency translation.

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