WhiteWave owns brands including Alpro

WhiteWave owns brands including Alpro

The board at Dean Foods has approved the US dairy group's plans to spin off WhiteWave Foods, the owner of brands such as Horizon Organic and Alpro.

Yesterday's (1 May) announcement was the latest stage in Dean Foods' moves to hive off WhiteWave. In August, Dean Foods unveiled plans to list 20% of WhiteWave in New York and then distribute the rest of the business to shareholders.

Later this month, Dean Foods shareholders will receive 47.69m Class A WhiteWave shares and 67.9m Class B shares. The company will hold on to 34.4m shares, which equates to over 19% of the business. Dean Foods said it expects to offload that stake within the next 18 months.

Dean Foods CEO Gregg Tanner said: "Following WhiteWave's successful initial public offering last year, our board's action today puts the spin-off of WhiteWave in motion. The separation of WhiteWave from Dean Foods continues to unlock significant shareholder value and puts both companies on a path for future success in their respective businesses."

Former Dean Foods CEO Gregg Engles became WhiteWave chief last year. He stayed on as chairman of Dean Foods but has resigned from the role to focus on his position at WhiteWave.

Dean Foods and WhiteWave are set to announce first-quarter results next week.