US dairy products company Dean Foods has reported a sharp rise in third-quarter profit despite the challenges of two hurricanes and rising fuel costs.

The company posted net income of US$103.9m, or 67 cents per share, for the quarter to 30 September, compared to $40.2m, or 25 cents per share, for the year-ago quarter.
Adjusted net income from continuing operations for the third quarter was $77.7m compared to $65.9m in the third quarter of 2004.

"Our businesses performed well despite a very challenging environment which included two hurricanes and rapidly rising fuel and resin costs," said Gregg Engles, chairman and chief executive officer.

"Consistent with recent trends, our dairy group again posted strong volume increases and our WhiteWave division posted strong growth in both net sales and profitability," he added.

Net sales for the third quarter totalled $2.6bn, an increase of 2.4% over the third quarter of 2004. The increase in net sales was primarily due to higher fluid dairy volumes and increased sales at WhiteWave Foods, which were offset by the pass-through of lower raw milk and butterfat costs in the dairy group.