Brief

WhiteWave sales are up as it prepares for Danone merger

Dive Brief:

  • WhiteWave saw an increase in net sales of 3% — to $1.1 billion — for the fourth quarter of 2016 year over year, according to a company earnings report.
  • The company also reported net sales increased 9% in fiscal 2016.
  • WhiteWave’s diluted earnings increased 30% to $0.34 per share in the fourth quarter, while adjusted constant currency diluted earnings per share increased 13% to $0.40.

Dive Insight:

The numbers for WhiteWave in its fourth-quarter and fiscal year were slightly up, as strong numbers came from growth in the company’s coffee creamers and beverages and diversified plant-based product portfolios in the Americas and Europe.

Not all numbers were solid. The company saw platform net sales in its Fresh Food division — which includes Earthbound Farm products — decrease 1% during Q4 2016, compared with the same time in 2015. The division declined 4% in full year 2016. In the report, WhiteWave’s chairman and CEO Gregg Engles said this performance was impacted by enterprise planning software the company implemented in 2015, and improving Fresh Foods is a key focus for the future.

But bigger things for the company loom in the future, namely its merger with yogurt giant Danone. The $1.25 billion deal is set to be finalized this quarter, after several divestments and regulatory approval processes in different parts of the world. Danone has found its profits slowing, mainly in yogurt. Analysts have been hopeful that WhiteWave's expertise in more trendy areas of food could give the legacy yogurt leader a boost.

In the earnings report, Engles is optimistic about the merger.

"We remain confident in the underlying strength of our market-leading brands positioned in on-trend and growing categories, and continue to believe our pending merger with Danone will create the perfect strategic alliance to maximize the long-term global growth of our brands and optimize the profit potential of WhiteWave’s businesses," he said in the report.

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Filed Under: Manufacturing Corporate