Dean Foods Reports Strong 2008 Sales, Despite Q4 Softening

Dean Foods, the largest U.S. dairy company, announced an increase in profits for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2008, while total net sales dropped 5% for the quarter.


The company touted its highest income levels in company history, as income rose from $32.6 million in 2007 to $67.4 million in 2008. The company’s total net sales for 2008 grew 5% to $12.5 billion, despite a weak fourth quarter performance.

The company earned $0.43 per diluted share, an increase of 79% from the $0.24 per diluted share in 2007. The increases in income and adjusted earnings were driven by a 31% increase in the DSD Dairy segment operating profit, a 14% increase in the White Wave-Morningstar segment operating profit, and lower interest expense as a result of reduced total outstanding debt. Dean Foods reported an increase in Horizon Organic milk sales of 15% in 2008, despite signs of slowing within the fourth quarter.

Chief Financial Officer Jack Callahan feels good about the company’s positioning—even in the midst of the current gloomy economy. “We have significant momentum in our business as we enter 2009,” he said in a prepared statement. “For the first quarter, we are off to a strong start and are expecting adjusted diluted earnings of at least $0.38 per share. For the full year, we remain very confident in our expectations for delivering mid-teens EPS growth in 2009, which implies adjusted diluted earnings of at least $1.50 per share in 2009.”

If you are a subscriber to NBJ click on the following articles to read more:
Organic Yogurt, Dairy Sales Spike in Conventional Stores
Review of the Global Market for Organic Food & Drink
Lifeway Foods Drinks Up Probiotic Kefir Competitor Fresh Made Dairy

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