* Sees 1st-qtr results of between loss/share $0.03 and
* Analysts were expecting a profit of $0.28 per share
* Fourth-quarter revenue falls 7 pct; slightly above
* Posts fourth-quarter net loss vs net profit a year earlier
* Shares fall 10 pct
(Adds CEO comment, fourth-quarter results, details, shares)
Feb 11 Dean Foods Co, the largest U.S.
dairy processor, warned it could post a loss in the first
quarter due to a surprise rise in the price of raw milk, sending
its shares down as much as 10 percent in early trading.
The company, which sells Meadow Gold and Dean's milk, also
posted a 7 percent fall in fourth-quarter revenue, the steepest
drop in six quarters, due to a decline in milk volumes.
The company's milk sales have been falling since it lost a
contract with Wal-Mart stores Inc in the middle of last
year. Dean Foods said on Tuesday it did not expect to "fully lap
the impact" until the second half of this year.
"We expect our first quarter will be our most difficult
quarter of this year ...," Chief Executive Gregg Tanner said in
Dean Foods said while it previously expected raw milk prices
to fall in the early part of 2014, they have risen sharply
driven by global demand for imported dairy products.
The Dallas-based company said it now expects prices to rise
through the first half of 2014 before flattening, and then
declining moderately in the second half of the year.
Dean Foods said it could post between a loss of 3 cents per
share and a profit of 3 cents per share in the quarter ending
Analysts on average expect a profit of 28 cents per share,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Dean Foods posted a net loss of $37.7 million in the fourth
quarter, compared with a profit of $30.6 million, a year
On an adjusted basis, the company earned 18 cents per share,
in line with the average analyst estimate.
Revenue fell 7 percent to $2.30 billion, slightly above the
$2.27 billion analysts had expected for the quarter ended Dec.
Dean Foods' shares were down 8 percent at $13.98 in early
trading on the New York Stock Exchange. They hit a low of $13.71
(Reporting by Maria Ajit Thomas in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti
Pandey and Savio D'Souza)