Thursday, 15 February 2001

Suiza Foods Corporation Announces Fourth Quarter Sales of $1.5 Billion And Diluted Earnings Per Share of $1.08

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Thursday, 15 February 2001

DALLAS, Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ — Suiza Foods Corporation (NYSE: SZA), the
nation’s leading dairy processor and distributor, today announced net sales
totaled $1.5 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2000, an increase of
31.9% over 1999. Diluted earnings per share before non-recurring items for
the quarter totaled $1.08, an increase of 18.9% over last year, and diluted
cash earnings per share before non-recurring items grew 18.5% to $1.25. Cash
earnings per share is defined as earnings per share before goodwill
amortization, net of the related income tax effects.

Fourth quarter operating income before non-recurring items increased
42.8% to $100.9 million, compared with $70.7 million in the 1999 fourth
quarter. Consolidated operating margins before non-recurring items for the
quarter were 6.8%, an improvement of 52 basis points from the comparable prior
year period.

“We are extremely pleased with the performance of our operating units
during the fourth quarter. Strong performance at the Dairy Group and
Morningstar allowed us to deliver strong results despite continued weakness at
our minority-owned packaging business,” said Gregg Engles, Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer of Suiza Foods. “2000 was a tremendous year for Suiza, and
we remain very confident in our ability to grow 2001 earnings per share in the
range of 10% to 12%, despite predictions of an otherwise slowing economy.”


The company recorded net sales growth of 28.4% to $5.8 billion for the
year ended December 31, 2000, compared with $4.5 billion in 1999. Diluted
earnings per share before non-recurring items increased 14.4% to $3.86 in
2000, compared with $3.37 in 1999. Diluted cash earnings per share in 2000
totaled $4.52, an increase of 15.3% over the prior year.

Excluding the effects of the sale of the company’s U.S. packaging business
in July 1999, net sales rose 35.9% in 2000. Operating income excluding the
U.S. packaging business and before non-recurring items increased 49.7% and
operating margin expanded 61 basis points over 1999. Excluding U.S.
packaging, diluted earnings per share before non-recurring items increased
20.4% and diluted cash earnings per share grew 21.9%.


During the year, the company accomplished the following:

  • Completed the acquisition of Southern Foods Group L.P., making Suiza
    Foods the nation’s first fluid dairy company with national reach.

  • Repurchased a total of 3.3 million shares of its common stock for a
    total cost of $148.4 million. In 2001, as of January 18, the company
    had bought back 30,000 additional shares for $1.4 million. Currently,
    $106.1 million remains available under its share repurchase

  • Formed a strategic partnership between its Morningstar Foods
    subsidiary and Hershey Foods Corp. whereby Morningstar will
    manufacture, sell and distribute Hershey brand name dairy products
    nationally. The product launch of Hershey(R)’s Fat Free Chocolate
    Milk, Hershey(R)’s 2% Reduced Fat Chocolate Milk and Hershey(R)’s 2%
    Reduced Fat Strawberry Milk reached nationwide distribution in January

  • Completed the acquisitions of Valley of Virginia, with dairy
    processing plants in Springfield, Va. and Mt. Crawford, Va.;
    Schenkel’s All Star Dairy, based in Huntington, Ind., which serves the
    northeast Indiana market; and Poudre Valley Creamery, based in Fort
    Collins, Co. These acquisitions contribute approximately $280 million
    in annualized sales.

  • Announced the formation of, the first business-to-business
    online vertical exchange focused specifically on bringing farmers,
    farm cooperatives, processors and manufacturers together in an
    electronic marketplace for the exchange of goods and services, supply
    chain efficiency tools and dairy farm optimization tools. In
    December, was merged with INC2inc to form Momentx, thereby
    combining an accomplished management team with additional access to
    capital, customers and technology.

  • Completed the acquisition of Leche Celta, the fourth largest dairy in
    Spain. The acquisition provides another platform for growth, improves
    alignment with large retail customers with European operations and
    offers greater access to advances in ultra-high temperature (UHT)

  • Launched Sun Soy(TM), a non-dairy, lactose-free, cholesterol-free milk
    made from soy and enriched with calcium and vitamins A, B12, D and E,
    through its Morningstar subsidiary.

  • Expanded the marketing area for branded milks, kidsmilk(TM) and
    fitmilk(TM), targeted toward specific segments of milk-drinkers, into
    New England and Michigan. The company also introduced chocolate
    kidsmilk(TM) and plans additional market roll-outs in 2001.

  • Entered into a long-term supply agreement to provide all private-label
    milk and related dairy products to Stop & Shop stores, the largest
    grocery store operator in New England.

  • Sold Ferembal S.A. and Dixie Union GmbH & Co KG, the company’s
    European packaging subsidiaries, leaving its 43% minority interest in
    Consolidated Container as the company’s remaining packaging

  • Closed and fully funded an asset securitization financing totaling
    $150 million. The proceeds from the new financing were used to pay
    down higher cost debt.


The company also announced that Tracy Noll, Executive Vice President and
Chief Development Officer, will retire from Suiza Foods effective June 30,
2001. “Tracy has been an integral part of Suiza’s growth and success over the
last seven years. We are grateful for his invaluable contributions and wish
him well in his future endeavors,” said Engles. John Madden and Ron Klein,
both Vice Presidents of Corporate Development for Suiza with a combined
15 years of service in the company’s corporate development group, will assume
Mr. Noll’s responsibilities.


A conference call to discuss the company’s financial results and outlook
will be held at 10:00 a.m. eastern today. The call may be heard live by
visiting the “Conference Calls” section of the company web site at

Suiza Foods Corporation, based in Dallas, is the nation’s leading dairy
processor and distributor, producing a full line of company-branded and
customer-branded products. National brands include International Delight(R),
Second Nature(R), Naturally Yours(R), Mocha Mix(R), Sun Soy(TM), kidsmilk(TM)
and fitmilk(R). Regional brands consist of Adohr Farms(R), Barbe’s(R),
Brown’s Dairy(TM), Broughton(R), Country Fresh(R), Dairy Gold(R),
Dairymen’s(R), Flav-O-Rich(R), Lehigh Valley Farms(R), London’s(R), Meadow
Gold(R), Model Dairy(R), Natural by Garelick Farms(R), Oak Farms(R), Poudre
Valley(R), Robinson(R), Schenkel’s All Star Dairy, Schepps(R), Shenandoah’s
Pride(R), Suiza Dairy(R), Louis Trauth Dairy(R), Tuscan(R), Velda Farms(R) and
West Lynn Creamery(R), as well as Celta(R) in Spain. Suiza also sells
products under partner or licensed brands in certain regions, including
Borden(R), Lactaid(R), Foremost(R) and Pet(R). Additionally, the company owns
approximately 43% of Consolidated Container Company, one of the nation’s
largest manufacturers of rigid plastic containers.

The company’s historical results of operations may not be indicative of
the company’s future prospects. Therefore, statements of historical fact
contained in this press release should not be construed as indicators of the
company’s future. The statement in this press release regarding the company’s
confidence in its performance for the balance of 2001 and its estimated
earnings per share for 2001 are “forward looking” statements and they are made
pursuant to the safe harbor provision of the Securities Litigation Reform Act
of 1995. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause
results to differ materially from statements set forth in this press release.
The company’s ability to meet targeted financial results depends on a variety
of economic, competitive and governmental factors, many of which are beyond
the company’s control and which are described in Suiza’s filings with the
Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements in this
press release speak only as of the date of this release. Suiza expressly
disclaims any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or
revisions to such statements to reflect any change in its expectations with
regard thereto or any changes in the events, conditions or circumstances on
which such statements are based.

                             SUIZA FOODS CORPORATION
                             Condensed Balance Sheet
                                 (in thousands)

                                                         December 31,
    ASSETS                                          2000              1999

    Cash and cash equivalents                      $31,110           $25,155
    Other current assets                           786,821           614,252
      Total current assets                         817,931           639,407

    Property, plant & equipment                  1,003,769           758,485

    Intangibles & other assets                   1,958,778         1,261,030

        Total Assets                            $3,780,478        $2,658,922


    Total current liabilities                     $673,228          $479,117

    Long-term debt                               1,244,380           689,397

    Other long-term liabilities                    157,661            81,181

    Mandatorily redeemable TIPES                   584,032           683,505

    Minority interest in subsidiaries              517,380           141,750

    Stockholders' equity:
      Common stock                                     273               293
      Additional paid-in capital                   166,361           275,527
      Retained earnings                            438,274           314,590
      Other comprehensive income                    (1,111)           (6,438)
        Total stockholders' equity                 603,797           583,972

        Total Liabilities and
         Stockholders' Equity                   $3,780,478        $2,658,922

                             SUIZA FOODS CORPORATION
                  (Dollars in thousands, except per share data)

                                 Three months ended     Twelve months ended
                                    December 31,            December 31,
                                  2000        1999        2000        1999

    Net sales                  $1,487,862  $1,127,909  $5,756,303  $4,481,999
    Cost of sales               1,116,322     876,143   4,330,067   3,487,075

      Gross profit                371,540     251,766   1,426,236     994,924

    Operating costs and
     expenses                     270,600     181,083   1,047,285     705,484
    Plant and administrative
     restructurings                   ---       4,375       3,388      12,566

      Operating income            100,940      66,308     375,563     276,874

    Interest expense &
     financing charges on
     preferred securities          37,859      19,267     146,181      87,817
    Equity in earnings of
     unconsolidated affiliates       (125)     (1,330)    (10,697)     (7,578)
    Equity in restructuring
     charges of unconsolidated
     affiliates                      (756)      3,391        (756)      4,948
    Other (income) expense          1,039      (1,699)       (630)     (1,416)

      Income before income
       taxes and minority
       interest                    62,923      46,679     241,465     193,103

    Income taxes                   22,403      19,001      90,303      75,463
    Minority interest               7,120       2,320      32,446       8,813

        Net income before
         extraordinary items       33,400      25,358     118,716     108,827

    Extraordinary gain                            904       4,968         904

        Net income                $33,400     $26,262    $123,684    $109,731

        Net income before
         non-recurring items      $32,970     $30,404    $120,057    $119,891

    Diluted EPS before
     non-recurring items            $1.08       $0.91       $3.86       $3.37

    Diluted cash EPS before
     non-recurring items            $1.25       $1.06       $4.52       $3.92

    Basic earnings per share:
        Income before
         extraordinary items        $1.23       $0.83       $4.21       $3.31
        Extraordinary gain            ---        0.03        0.18        0.03
        Net income                  $1.23       $0.86       $4.39       $3.34

        Basic average common
         shares (000's)            27,199      30,433      28,195      32,861

    Diluted earnings per share:
        Income before
         extraordinary items        $1.09       $0.78       $3.82       $3.11
        Extraordinary gain            ---        0.02        0.13        0.02
        Net income                  $1.09       $0.80       $3.95       $3.13

        Diluted average common
         shares (000's)            35,556      40,324      36,671      42,858

    Summary Financial Information:
      Depreciation                $16,050     $17,223     $87,915     $77,205
      Amortization of
       intangibles                $13,288      $9,804     $52,441     $38,513
      Amortization shown in
       interest expense            $1,188        $224      $4,627        $890

SOURCE Suiza Foods Corporation

CONTACT: Cory M. Olson, Vice President and Treasurer, 214-303-3645, or
P.I. Aquino, Assistant Treasurer, 214-303-3437, both of Suiza Foods

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