Dean Foods earnings jump in 2009

by Keith Nunes
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DALLAS — Earnings at Dean Foods Co. in fiscal 2009 increased 38% compared with fiscal 2008. The company’s net income in the year ended Dec. 31, 2009, was $275,715,000, equal to $1.61 per share on the common stock, up from $199,230,000, or $1.33 per share, in the previous year.

Annual revenues for the company were $11,158,388,000, down from sales of 12,454,613,000 in fiscal 2008.

In the fourth quarter, Dean’s earnings fell 24% to $50,266,000, or 28c per share, from $66,361,000, or 43c per share. Sales for the quarter in 2009 were $3,000,657,000, down narrowly from $3,080,425,000 in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008.

“The fourth quarter was a challenging finish to an otherwise highly successful year for Dean Foods,” said Gregg Engles, chairman and chief executive officer. “2009 operating profits, in total, and for each of our business segments, were the highest in our history. Full-year adjusted operating income grew 10% in 2009, on top of the 7% growth we reported in 2008.

“Moreover, we built the necessary capability to transform our business, and our initiatives to reduce cost took hold. We delivered over $75 million in cost savings in the first year of our $300 million cost reduction program. Additionally, we strategically built our portfolio, adding Alpro to become the clear global soy leader, and Heartland and Foremost Farms to strengthen our core fluid milk franchise.”

Operating income for Dean’s Fresh Dairy Direct division increased 9% during fiscal 2009 to $642.4 million.

Operating income for the company’s Whitewave-Morningstar division, which included income from the acquisition of Alpro, increased 25% during the year to $256 million. For the full year 2009, commodity benefits at Morningstar, combined with solid pricing realization and strong operational leverage at WhiteWave, drove operating income for WhiteWave-Morningstar, according to the company.

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