The Dean Foods Earnings Call, a webcast relaying financial news of Dean Foods, a publicly traded company, was held on the morning of Tuesday, May 7th, 2019.
The timeframe immediately before and after these publicly available Earnings Calls, for any company generally provide a wealth of information concerning the financial health and status of that company, along with various industry perspectives.
According to company information
, Dean Foods is the “nation’s [US] largest processor and direct-to-store distributor of fluid milk.
” As such, any decisions made by the company will have a direct impact on local/regional dairy communities across the country, affecting many dairy farms and jobs within and related to the processing plants.
It can be said that Dean Foods is perhaps the company which is most supportive of the local and regional farm communities within a fairly close radius of each of its 58 plants. Additionally, there are 19,000 local jobs in processing and distribution and related company functions at the plants.
Here are general takeaways from the Earnings Call – a grassroots perspective:
- First: No really horrible news for farms or local business, or even Dean’s resulted from the Q1 call, which I consider a positive, given the company’s downward trending stock prices of late.
- Second: Stock value was generally up for the day, with market share price at $1.75 at the time of close of business on May 7th.
- Third: No immediate transitions or sales of the company were announced (as of that day), even though it is no secret the company is exploring options. Whatever the company’s eventual decisions, there is no doubt that local communities and farm economies across the country will be impacted – but no one knows if that will be in a harmful or helpful manner at this writing.
- Fourth: The world of food in general – and dairy companies in particular – is fast-changing, so any news today may be very different a week from now.
Stockholders Meeting: The Dean Foods Stockholder Meeting occurred Wed, May 9th at 9 am, CDT.
The meeting is archived here
if readers would like to listen in. There is a delay at the front of the meeting in the recording.
Prior to and following the May 7th Earnings Call: These Posts (chronological)
- May 6, 2019: Dean Has Got Milk but Few Growth Prospects as it Hunts for Buyer, by Lydia Mulvany and Katherine Doherty for Bloomberg
- May 6, 2019: Dean Foods Falters from More Concentrated Milk Market – authored by Heather Haddon, for the Wall Street Journal: (and in case you can’t get to the online edition, here’s a photo of the article as it appeared in print)
- May 7, 6:58 am, by Seeking Alpha: Dean Foods Misses Q1 Estimates – notes that sales declined in 9% in Q1 2019, and to this blogger’s understanding, the comparison point is Q1 in 2018 (will verify). Remember, in 2018, the company still had branded shelf space in Walmarts in several states in the projected distribution radius of the new Walmart plant at Fort Wayne, Indiana.
- May 7, 10:23 am (after the call): Dean Says It’s Turning the Corner with Dairy Drain Set to End – by Lydia Mulvany and Katherine Doherty for Bloomberg – authors note the report was a ‘mixed bag,’ stated the company’s bonds gained on Tuesday (the day of the call) after ‘tumbling since late February.’
- Dean Foods Company SEC Filing – Current report (8-K) May 7, 2018 (Financial Statement)
- A Transcript of the Entire Call – posted by Seeking Alpha – access at this link (21 pages if you print, follow a link to an audio recording): includes the opening statement by Dean Foods officials, including CEO Ralph Scozzafava, and a Q&A Session with Financial Analysts from well-known companies
- Slides – played in conjunction with the Dean Foods officials portions of the call, includes graphs and charts further explaining the verbal points – access at this link
- “On a call with analysts frustrated with a lack of details around when the company could turn a financial corner, Dean Foods also reiterated that it’s looking at strategic alternatives to accelerate its business transformation and enhance its value.”
- “When asked whether the company was in talks with any potential buyers for the company, Scozzafava said it’s possible the company could do nothing.
- “We’ve been in conversations with some folks, and we’ll leave it at that . . . we are very open minded and exploring some things,” Scozzafava said.
“Investors should be mindful of the fact that the outlook for the industry can have a material impact on the performance of the stock as well. In terms of the Zacks Industry Rank, Food-Dairy Products is currently in the bottom 8% of the 250 plus Zacks industries. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperform the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.”
Posted at Seeking Alpha, authored by Holmes Osborne, of Osborne Global Investments
This is a blunt, tell-it-like-it-is perspective from a financial analyst’s viewpoint, who describes the company’s real estate and transportation assets as interesting. He also suggests some action items for the company to take in order to cause company value to rise.
With most of this blog’s readers in agriculture, it should be noted he suggests the company needs to widen its portfolio to include more plant-based or alternative beverages, or expand whey-protein production.
Parts of this article are a bit hard to read, but may be necessary to absorb in order to take action.
Also – take note, some of the $$$ referring to milk sales are not as impactful as he suggests due to market conditions of two different time frames, and some of his other statements related to agriculture show a bit of a lack of knowledge about grass-roots agriculture.
- CEO Ralph Scozzafava notes that a cost productivity plan and improvements in free cash flow provide optimistic things about the quarter
- Scozzafava: “We believe we have passed the inflection point in our transformation, as many of the initiatives we implemented over the past 12 months are now beginning to take hold.”
- Scozzafava (when asked about a potential sale): “It’s very possible that we won’t do anything, and we’ll continue to execute the plant that we have, which we’re very happy with, and we’ll continue to make progress on it. “So look, we’ve been in conversations with some folks, and we’ll leave it at that.”
- Notes this from Wells-Fargo Analyst John Baumgartner: “The outlook features some positives (seq. EBIT improvement, positive FCF, new business wins), but we think weak volumes, expansive price gaps, and inflationary price basis to dairy costs maintain DF in a vulnerable position.”
- “Wells-Fargo has a Market Perform rating and a target price of $2 on Dean Foods.”
May 9th: Stock closed at $1.65/share
- Moore observes that stock has an (average analyst) potential target price of $3.47 share, thus a potential to rise 98.29% increase from recent ranges of $1.57 to $1.71.
- Trading volume was considered high
May 13th, Market Close: Stock closed at $1.96/share, and traded as high as $1.98 during the day.
June 3rd, 2019: Stock closed at $1.06.
June 5th, 2019: Stock closed at $1.22/share
June 6th, 2019: Stock closed at $1.22/share
June 7th, 2019, 8:44 am: “Saputo takes a pass at Dean Foods”:
Seeking Alpha news alert breaks news Saputo will not be acquiring Dean Foods, after earlier announcements Saputo was considering that acquisition.
June 26, 2019: Dean Foods Stock closed at 95 cents / share (Volume 2,552,000)
June 27, 2019: Dean Foods Stock closed at 93 cents / share (Volume 2,974,000)
June 28, 2019: Dean Foods Stock closed at 92 cents / share (Volume 4,959,000)
July 1, 2019: Dean Foods Stock closed at 93 cents / share (Volume 2,537,000)
July 2, 2019: Dean Foods Stock closed at 97 cents / share (Volume 2,264,000)
July 3, 2019: Dean Foods Stock closed at $1.07 / share (Volume 2,397,0000)
July 5, 2019: Dean Foods Stock closed at $1.10 / share (Volume 2,338,0000)
As those in the dairy industry know too well, this is an evolving story with lots of moving parts. Look for additional updates as they become available.
And please keep in mind, this is mostly a chronicle or digest of information which has been published by other sources. This blog in no way suggests advice on taking actions either in the stock market or in a related business due to information published here.