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Dean Foods 1Q profit soars on Morningstar sale

DALLAS (AP) -- Dean Foods' net income skyrocketed in the first quarter on the sale of its massive Morningstar division.

The Dallas food and beverage company surprised Wall Street even when the sale of Morningstar is excluded and shares rose in early trading.

For the three months ended March 31, Dean Foods Co. earned $492.6 million, or $2.63 per share. That's up sharply from $37.9 million, or 20 cents per share, a year ago.

Dean logged a $491.9 million gain from the Morningstar sale, which the company announced in December. Morningstar makes creamers, half and half, ice cream and other products.

Dean Foods also took WhiteWave Foods Co. public in October and is using proceeds from the spinoff to pay down debt. The company previously announced that it planned to keep about 20 percent of WhiteWave, which makes the brand Silk soy and Horizon Organic dairy.

Shares of Dean Foods added 30 cents to $19.30 in early trading.

Revenue rose slightly to $2.88 billion from $2.87 billion.

For the second quarter, Dean anticipates adjusted earnings in a range of 11 to 15 cents per share. The guidance excludes WhiteWave's operating results.

The company still expects adjusted earnings — which excludes WhiteWave — between 45 cents and 55 cents per share.