DALLAS-Dean Foods Co. reported lower earnings for 2004, although sales were on the rise. Executives said volatile raw milk prices caused the Dairy Group, which accounts for 80% of Dean's business to underperform. They also pointed to stronger fourth quarter performance as a sign of good things to come.
"We are encouraged by our performance in the fourth quarter," said Gregg Engles, chairman and chief executive officer. "We delivered 14% adjusted earnings per share growth for the quarter and enter 2005 with significant momentum."
Sales for the full year rose to $10.8 billion from $9.2 billion. Dean posted net income of $285.4 million, for the year or $1.78 a share, down from $355.7 million, or $2.27, a year ago.
Net sales for the fourth quarter totaled $2.8 billion, an increase of 11% over the fourth quarter of 2003, due primarily to the acquisitions of Horizon Organic and Ross-Swiss Dairies, the increased selling prices resulting from the pass through of increases in raw milk and butterfat costs and continued strong volume growth at the Dairy Group and White Wave Foods.