DALLAS (AP) — Shares of Dean Foods soared Wednesday, after the dairy distributor announced an adjusted fourth-quarter profit that beat Wall Street predictions and issued a healthy outlook for the current quarter and full year.
In midday trading, shares of the Dallas company jumped $1.57, or 14 percent, to $12.44, after climbing as high as $12.58 earlier in the day.
Dean posted a loss attributable to common shareholders of $9.9 million, or 5 cents per share, compared with a loss of $20.7 million, or 11 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.
Excluding one-time items, the company posted a profit of 27 cents per share, up from an adjusted 15 cents per share.
Revenue rose 4.5 percent to $3.3 billion from $3.15 billion.
Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 23 cents per share on $3.34 billion in revenue, according to a FactSet poll.
Milk volumes at the company's Fresh Dairy Direct business, which delivers milk to stores, fell 1.5 percent during the quarter. But excluding the sale of a Wisconsin facility, milk volumes were flat.
The soft volumes were offset by higher commodity costs that were passed on to customers, sending Fresh Dairy Direct sales up 4 percent to $2.3 billion, the company said.
Meanwhile, sales at Dean's WhiteWave-Alpro business rose 6 percent to $559 million on strong demand for creamers and plant-based beverages such as almond milk.
For the full year 2011, Dean posted a loss of $1.58 billion, or $8.59 per share, compared with a profit of $94.5 million, or 50 cents per share, in 2010. Revenue rose to $13.06 billion from $12.12 billion.
The company said it expects commodity costs to stabilize somewhat this year. After a first-quarter decline, the company said it expects raw milk prices to be relatively flat for the rest of the year.
Dean Foods Co. projected an adjusted first-quarter profit of between 18 cents and 23 cents per share and an adjusted full-year-profit of between 87 cents and 95 cents per share.
Analysts polled by FactSet expect profits of 19 cents per share and 89 cents per share, for the quarter and year, respectively.
Over the past 52 weeks, shares of Dean Foods have traded between $7.83 and $13.90.