The Dallas-based processor now expects profit of at least 41 cents per share, up from a prior forecast of 38 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters predict first-quarter net income of 40 cents per share, AP reported.
Dean Foods Chief Financial Officer Jack Callahan said in a statement that the company looks to benefit from declining milk prices, with the Class I Mover milk price set to drop to $9.43 per hundredweight in March.
Dean expects a full-year adjusted profit of at least $1.55 per share. Analysts forecast 2009 net income of $1.56 per share. Dean Foods previously reported 2008 earnings of $1.30 per share.
In addition, the company said it plans to save about $300 million over the next three to five years through such efforts as cutting conversion costs at more than 100 plants and improving distribution at DSD Dairy. The plans include $50 million in savings at its WhiteWave division. The company reportedly is also looking at plant consolidations.