WhiteWave Foods sees greater promise in Horizon

by Keith Nunes
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BROOMFIELD, COLO. — In 2014, organic products sold under the WhiteWave Co.’s Horizon brand may start to appear in new food and beverage categories, said Kelly Haecker, chief financial officer.

Mr. Haecker said in a conference call with financial analysts to discuss WhiteWave’s third-quarter financial results that the $750 million retail brand has “very strong clout with moms, in particular, moms with younger families.”

He said in 2014 the brand would begin to migrate into new categories and new parts of the overall retail environment.

“And those categories will be those categories that we believe have potential that have a strong linkage to consumption amongst households that have younger kids,” Mr. Haecker said.

He categorized the roll-out as a “slow burn.”

“We’re fully conscious of moving into new areas of the store and the competitive activity that is there with some very strong brands,” Mr. Haecker said. “But we also believe that we have a brand that brings a lot of clout to those parents with younger kids, as well. So I think as early as the first half of next year, I think you are going to begin to see that start to emerge with respect to Horizon.”

He said investors will see some additional investments put behind the brand.

“We believe that this is a brand that can compete in a multitude of different categories,” Mr. Haecker said. “And that will take some different capabilities — capabilities with respect to both the manufacturing side as well as the distribution side.”

Products that currently feature the Horizon brand include milk, cheese, yogurt, cream, butter, cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream and eggs.

WhiteWave Foods also announced during the call that is plans to sell the Idaho organic dairy farm that supplies some of the milk used in Horizon products. The company said the sale will allow managers of the Horizon business to focus on the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of products.

For the third quarter of fiscal 2013 ended Sept. 30, WhiteWave Foods net income was $24,293,000, equal to 14c per share on the common stock, down 8% from the same period during the previous year when it recorded net income of $26,292,000, or 18c per share.

Sales for the quarter were $638,518,000, up 16% from sales of $550,507,000 in the same period a year ago.
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