UPDATE 3-Dean Foods to close milk factories as earnings sour

Thu Aug 8, 2013 12:25pm EDT
 
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* Suffering from loss of Wal-Mart contract, falling volumes

* To close 8-12 plants by mid-2014

* Sees Q3 adjusted earnings/shr $0.05-$0.08 vs est $0.11

* Shares fall as much as 9 pct (Adds analysts' comment, contract details)

By Aditi Shrivastava

Aug 8 (Reuters) - Top U.S. dairy company Dean Foods Co said it would speed up the closure of up to 15 percent of its factories in the face of increasing competition and falling volumes, as it reported a quarterly loss and warned of more tough times ahead.

Shares of Dallas-based Dean, known for its Meadow Gold and Dean's milk, fell as much as 9 percent after it said that the current quarter would be the most challenging this year.

Dean lost a large Wal-Mart Stores contract earlier this year and an analyst warned that price pressure from retailers and competitors won't go away anytime soon.

"Commodity costs remain volatile and competitive pressures are quite intense and shows no sign of easing," Erin Lash of Morningstar Inc told Reuters.   Continued...