Dean Foods said today (1 May) that it saw its profits nearly double during the first quarter, boosted by strong performances in its two business segments and cost-cutting efforts.

The US dairy processor’s net income for the period reached US$76.3m, compared to $30.8m in the prior year’s first quarter.

The company also reaffirmed its guidance of “at least” $1.55 of adjusted earnings per diluted share – around 20% EPS growth over 2008.

Consolidated operating income in the first quarter totalled $192.8m, an increase of 42% from the previous year. Adjusted first-quarter consolidated operating income totalled $202.8m, an increase of 47% from 2008.

Net sales, however, dropped 12% to $2.7bn due to the pass-through of lower dairy commodity costs and slightly lower net sales in the WhiteWave branded portfolio.

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By GlobalData

“Both of our operating segments contributed to the strong results, and we continued to move forward on our strategic initiatives,” said Gregg Engles, chairman and CEO.

Earnings at DSD Dairy, recently renamed Fresh Dairy Direct, jumped 39% as volume rose and input costs fell. Revenue fell 15% on the price decline.

The company’s WhiteWave-Morningstar division saw earnings rise 40%, though sales fell 2%.

The dairy giant announced separately today that it will publicly offer 22.5m shares of common stock.

The Dallas-based company plans to use proceeds to repay US$122.8m of its 6.625% senior notes due 15 May.