According to Gregg Engles, chairman and chief executive of Dean Foods, consolidation in the dairy industry will resume.

Several factors will lead to that in consolidation. For example, says Engles, an erosion in fluid-milk volumes and a shift by consumers to club stores and other nontraditional grocery outlets will help to change the face of the milk industry.

As for Dean, Engles expects sales for 2004 to be about $10 billion and earnings per share in the range of $2.28 to $2.34. This forecast doesn't include the impact of any future acquisitions, or asset sales, plant closings, and any other one-time charges.

Dean expects to close six to eight of its plants later this year. That will reduce the company’s fixed costs by $3 to $4 million.

Dean also will be spending more on marketing and promoting its branded products this year. Branded products for the company include: Silk soy milk, Land O' Lakes-branded products and Marie's salad dressing.

Yahoo News