Dean Foods Company announced plans to consolidate its three branded businesses: White Wave, Horizon Organic and the Dean National Brand Group. The newly combined operation will be headquartered in the Boulder, Colo., area and is expected to have 2004 revenue of approximately $1.1 billion. The change is intended to enable the consolidated company to capture the full potential of its rapidly growing brands, to better serve its customers, leverage its scale, and increase profitability over time. Steve Demos, founder and president of White Wave, will serve as president of the newly consolidated company and will continue to report to Gregg Engles, chairman and chief executive officer of Dean Foods. The consolidation is anticipated to be complete by late 2005.
"We possess a strong stable of national brands with very high growth rates," said Engles. "Our current structure, with three distinct organizations, including three sales forces and three separate supply chains, is not the right structure to tap the full potential of our brands. This new organization will allow us to streamline and simplify our business model and is the right design to drive our business forward.
"In addition to allowing us to leverage our scale and increase profitability, combining the three businesses will enable us to increase our investment in marketing and innovation," continued Engles. "We also have significant opportunity to improve our go-to-market strategy, given the common customer bases of our branded businesses. Over time, we will simplify our supply chain with plants dedicated to the manufacture of our branded products.
"We remain committed to driving increased shareholder value. These changes will lead to a stronger, purpose-driven organization, capable of capturing the tremendous opportunities ahead," Engles concluded.
Steve Demos founded White Wave in 1977, growing the company to nearly $300 million in revenue in 2003. As founder and president, he has been responsible for the strategic direction and operations of White Wave. Demos joined the Dean Foods organization following its acquisition of White Wave in May 2002. "Steve is a visionary business leader with unmatched passion, energy and commitment to creating a compelling and sustainable business," said Engles. "Steve is highly respected within the natural and organic foods industry. He has exceptional experience in building the Silk brand that can now be applied to our strong portfolio of high growth brands."
In accepting his new position, Demos said, "By combining these three fine companies, we are creating a business with $1.1 billion in annual sales, growing over 20% per year. We sell innovative, authentic and nutritious products under strong brands. We own the largest and most dynamic natural and organic brands in the U.S.: Silk and Horizon Organic. We have a heritage of corporate and environmental stewardship that is part of the fabric of our culture and that we intend to build upon. And we have great people who have helped create these brands and for whom this new organization will create wonderful opportunities. I could not be more pleased to lead this new organization, nor more excited about the opportunity."
Chuck Marcy, president of Horizon Organic, will assist in the integration of the three businesses and will remain with the company through January 2005. "We greatly appreciate Chuck's efforts to further Horizon Organic and the organic foods industry as a whole. We are fortunate to have his leadership during this transition period," Engles said. "Under Chuck's leadership, Horizon Organic has become the nation's leading dedicated organic food brand. Since our acquisition of the company, the brand's growth has accelerated, reconfirming our belief that the Horizon Organic brand continues to have great growth prospects."
The consolidated company's brand portfolio consists of Silk and Sun Soy soymilk, Horizon Organic branded products, International Delight coffee creamers, Hershey's milks and milkshakes, Land O'Lakes milk and cream products, Marie's dips and dressings, The Organic Cow of Vermont organic milk, Rachel's Organic organic dairy products sold in the U.K., and Dean's dips. Additional products include Horizon Organic's and White Wave's private label business, White Wave's cultured soy and tofu products, Folgers Jakada milk and coffee beverages, and other non-core brands sold by the Dean National Brands Group. Dean Foods noted that, currently, the financial results for White Wave, Horizon Organic and the Dean National Brand Group are reported together and recognized as the Branded Products Group segment.