Friday, 9 March 2001

Dean Foods Lowers Earnings Expectations

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Friday, 9 March 2001

FRANKLIN PARK, Ill., March 9 /PRNewswire/ — Dean Foods Company (NYSE: DF)
today announced that it expects to report earnings per share for the third
quarter ending February 28, 2001, and for the full fiscal year ending May 27,
2001, that are below Wall Street consensus estimates as a result of weaker
than expected results in the Dairy and National Refrigerated Products Groups.
The Company also announced that it is working with Goldman, Sachs & Co. to
explore strategic and financial alternatives.

The Company said it expects to report earnings per share in the range of
$0.45 to $0.47 per share in the third quarter of fiscal 2001 compared with the
consensus estimate of $0.65 per share and $0.67 per share in the third quarter
of fiscal 2000. The Company also said it expects full fiscal year earnings
per share to be in the range of $2.50 to $2.55 per share compared to the
consensus estimate of $3.02 per share and $2.87 per share for fiscal 2000.
The full-year 2001 projections and analyst estimates exclude a one-time
after-tax gain of $6.2 million in the second quarter on the sale of a note
associated with the fiscal 1999 divestiture of the Company’s vegetables

The Company previously indicated that it expected third quarter 2001
earnings per share to be below third quarter 2000 due primarily to higher
costs to support growth in its intermediate and extended shelf-life product
line. However, in addition to these previously announced factors, the Company
now expects:

  • Results for its Dairy division to be only marginally above last year’s
    comparable third quarter and below last year’s fourth quarter results.
    While volumes for ice cream products are expected to improve in the
    fourth quarter due to seasonality and the impact of the recently
    announced alliance with Baskin-Robbins to produce ice cream for their
    retail stores nationally, overall Dairy Group third and fourth quarter
    results are expected to be impacted by lower than anticipated volumes
    in fluid milk, primarily in the West, higher than anticipated
    distribution costs due to escalating fuel costs and higher raw milk and
    butterfat costs.
  • Third and fourth quarter results from the National Refrigerated
    Products Group to be below the comparable periods last year due to
    costs associated with technology to produce intermediate and extended
    shelf-life products and higher promotional spending.
  • Third quarter results from the Specialty Foods Group to be below last
    year’s third quarter due to lower than anticipated volumes and higher
    promotional spending, primarily in the pickle business. Results are
    expected to be above last year’s fourth quarter due to improved crop
    costs for the pickle business.

“We are pleased that demand for our products remains strong, and we
anticipate low double digit revenue growth for the remainder of the year. Of
course, we are disappointed in the projections for earnings for the third
quarter and the remainder of fiscal 2001”, said Howard Dean, Chairman and
Chief Executive Officer. “We are taking a number of steps to immediately
address the issues, including further cost savings initiatives, pricing
adjustments, and the engagement of Goldman, Sachs & Co. to advise us on
strategic and financial alternatives.”

The Company plans to report its third quarter fiscal 2001 results on March

Dean Foods is one of the nation’s leading dairy processors and
distributors producing a full line of branded and private label products,
including fluid milk, ice cream and extended shelf life products, which are
sold under the Dean’s and other strong regional brand names. Dean Foods is
the industry leader in other food products including pickles, powdered
non-dairy coffee creamers, aseptically packaged foodservice products, and
refrigerated dips and salad dressings. More information about Dean Foods can
be found on its web site at .

Certain statements in this press release are forward-looking as defined by
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements
involve certain risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to
differ materially from expectations as of the date of this press release.
These risks include, but are not limited to, the ability to integrate
acquisitions, adverse weather conditions resulting in poor harvest conditions,
raw milk, resin, and fuel costs, interest rate fluctuations, the level of
promotional spending, competitive pricing pressures, the effectiveness of
marketing and cost-management programs and shifts in the market demand.

SOURCE Dean Foods Company

Web site:

Company News On-Call: fax, 800-758-5804, ext. 109161

CONTACT: Barbara Klein, Vice President, Finance and CFO, orWilliam Luegers, Vice President and Treasurer, both of DeanFoods, 847-678-1680

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