Consumer Products

Dean Foods Posts Profit, but Loses Chairman

Paul Ausick

Dean Foods Co. (NYSE: DF) reported second-quarter 2015 results before markets opened Monday. The largest milk producer in the United States posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.33 on revenues of $2.01 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported an earnings per share loss of $0.14 on revenues of $2.39 billion. Second-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.26 and $2.06 billion in revenues.

On a GAAP basis, net income per diluted share totaled $0.28. For the third quarter the company forecast adjusted EPS in a range of $0.17 to $0.27, compared with a consensus estimate of $0.21 on revenues of $2.08 billion.

The company’s non-executive chairman, Tom C. Davis, resigned Friday, effective immediately, and neither he nor the company has offered any explanation for the departure. The 66 year-old Davis has been a board member since 2001 and was named chairman in 2013. There was no reference to Davis’s resignation in the earnings report, but the conference call is sure to raise the subject.

CEO Gregg Tanner said:

Across our supply chain, we continued to execute our cost productivity agenda and utilize our scale to procure ingredients and packaging at industry leading levels, optimize our production network and reduce our logistics costs. From a commercial perspective, with the category showing signs of improvement, we continued to focus on striking the right balance between volume performance and price realization.

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CFO Chris Bellairs added:

With volume performance coming in-line with our expectations and a generally favorable commodity environment, we delivered a fourth consecutive quarter of sequentially improving gross profit and operating income. For the quarter, our gross profit, on an absolute dollar basis, and our operating income, on a per gallon basis, was the highest we have had since 2012.

Fluid milk volumes improved sequentially from a 3.1% decline in the fourth quarter to a 2.2% decline in the first quarter. However, costs are down 6% sequentially and 33% year over year. The company’s share of the country’s fluid milk market slipped from 35.9% in the year-ago quarter to 35% in the second quarter of 2015.

The company also said it expects volume to drop in the third quarter in the low single digits.

The resignation of the company’s chairman may have a larger impact on the stock Monday than the earnings results will. Investors rarely like surprise changes in corporate governance.

Shares closed Friday at $17.73, up 0.4% on the day, in a 52-week range of $12.62 to $19.74. The consensus price target on the stock is $18.43.

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