TEXT-S&P comments on Dean Foods
Sept 28 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that its ratings and outlook on Dallas-based Dean Foods Co. (B+/Positive/--) and its subsidiary, Dean Holding Co., currently are unchanged following the company's announcement that it recently decided to explore a transaction that may result in the sale of its Morningstar business.
Dean Foods said it has not yet identified a buyer for Morningstar, which is one of Dean Foods' higher margin businesses. It has not disclosed the potential use of the proceeds. We would evaluate the effect of a sale of Morningstar on our ratings at the time of the transaction, if any, and/or when more details become available.
We would evaluate any sale in terms of its potential impact on Dean Foods' existing "fair" business risk profile and "highly leveraged" financial risk profile. A divestiture of Morningstar could weaken Dean Foods' business risk profile, and the loss of earnings and the application of any sale proceeds could have an impact on the company's financial risk profile.
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