DALLAS — A strong performance by its North America business unit propelled earnings higher for WhiteWave Foods during its fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2012. For the year, WhiteWave’s net income rose to $113,694,000, equal to 74c per share on the common stock, a slight increase compared with 2011 when the company recorded net income of $107,395,000, or 72c per share.

Sales for the year were $2,175,374,000, up 13% from $1,916,830,000 in fiscal 2011.

The company’s North America business unit, which is comprised of its plant-based foods and beverages, premium dairy, coffee creamers and beverages businesses, saw its operating income rise 20% to $204 million during the year. Sales for the year were $1.9 billion, a 16% increase compared with 2011.

WhiteWave’s European segment was affected by the macroeconomic struggles in the region. Full-year operating income was $24 million, a 12% decrease compared with 2011, and was primarily driven by foreign currency translation, according to the company. Sales for the business unit during the year were “in the mid-single digits on a percentage basis compared to 2011,” the company said.

During the fourth quarter, WhiteWave Foods operating income declined 6% to $46 million, or 17c per share, which compared with the same period of the previous year when the company recorded net income of $49 million, or 21c per share. Sales for the quarter increased 12% to $608 million.

“Looking ahead to 2013, we are focused on growth and continuing to strengthen our brands, introduce new product offerings, expand our manufacturing capabilities, and drive cost savings across our business,” said Gregg Engles, chairman and chief executive officer. “We are confident that executing on these strategic initiatives — with the strong foundation we have in place — will ensure WhiteWave’s continued success and growth throughout the year and well into the future.”

Mr. Engles also said Dean Foods has affirmed its intention to spin-off shares of WhiteWave Foods in May, following an April 23 expiration of its initial public offering “lock-up period.”

“We continue to develop the functions and capabilities necessary for us to operate as a stand-alone company and look forward to the planned separation from Dean Foods in May,” Mr. Engles said.