Net sales for the fourth quarter 2015 were $1,028m, a 13% increase from net sales of $911m in the fourth quarter 2014. For full year 2015, adjusted net sales were $3,867m, a 13% increase from net sales of $3,437m in full year 2014.
WhiteWave said that the results were driven by strong growth in the Americas and Europe Foods & Beverages segments, as well as contributions from acquisitions, and were partially offset by declines in the Americas Fresh Foods segment resulting from sales disruptions from an SAP implementation and an intentional reduction in fresh fruit sales.
Looking to strong 2016
“Our strong fourth quarter results closed out another record year at WhiteWave. We continued to generate significant organic growth behind our core brands, with our recent acquisitions delivering on our growth expectations,” said Gregg Engles, chairman and chief executive officer.
“As part of our record 2015 accomplishments, we completed the two highly strategic acquisitions of Vega and Wallaby, opened a new state-of-the-art research and development facility, launched an array of new and innovative products and further expanded and improved our supply chain capabilities.
“With our broadened portfolio of brands in growing categories that are aligned with enduring consumer trends, we look forward to delivering another year of strong results in 2016.”
Americas Food & Beverages segment
WhiteWave’s Americas Foods & Beverages segment consists of three platforms: Plantbased Foods and Beverages, Coffee Creamers and Beverages, and Premium Dairy.
In fourth quarter 2015, net sales for Americas Foods & Beverages were $765m, an increase of 18% over fourth quarter 2014. For full year 2015, net sales for Americas Foods & Beverages were $2.8bn, an increase of 18% over full year 2014.
WhiteWave said that growth in the segment reflects strong organic sales growth and the contributions from acquisitions.
Plantbased Foods and Beverages
The Americas Plantbased Foods and Beverages platform includes Silk dairyfree beverages and yogurts, So Delicious dairyfree beverages, frozen desserts, and yogurts, and Vega nutritional dairyfree powders and bars.
Net sales for this platform increased 26% in fourth quarter 2015 compared to fourth quarter 2014. For full year 2015, net sales increased by 29% compared to full year 2014.
This growth, according to the company, was driven by the inclusion of acquisitions, along with strong organic volume growth across the platform.
The plant-based categories in which WhiteWave participates continued to grow in fourth quarter 2015, with refrigerated nut-based beverages increasing 10%, frozen desserts and novelties growing 26%, and yogurts increasing 35%.
Vega, which was acquired in August 2015, and is therefore not included in WhiteWave’s fourth quarter 2014 results or for the full 12 months of 2015, experienced net sales growth of over 50% on a constant currency basis in fourth quarter 2015 over fourth quarter 2014, and with full year 2015 net sales in excess of $125m.
Coffee Creamers and Beverages
The Coffee Creamers and Beverages platform includes coffee creamers and ready-to-drink beverages under the International Delight, Dunkin Donuts, Silk and So Delicious brands, as well as half-and-half dairy creamers under the Land O Lakes and Horizon Organic brands.
Net sales for this platform increased 10% in fourth quarter 2015 compared to fourth quarter 2014. For full year 2015, net sales increased by 10% compared to full year 2014.
Big growth for Wallaby
The Premium Dairy platform includes Horizon Organic milk and dairy products, macaroni and cheese, and snacks, along with Wallaby organic yogurts and organic kefir beverages.
Net sales increased 22% in fourth quarter 2015 compared to fourth quarter 2014. For full year 2015, net sales increased 18% compared to full year 2014. Sales were primarily driven by price increases and the inclusion of Wallaby.
Wallaby, which was acquired in August 2015, and is therefore not included in WhiteWave’s fourth quarter 2014 results or for the full 12 months of 2015, experienced net sales growth of 30% in fourth quarter 2015 over fourth quarter 2014, and full year 2015 net sales growth of 22% over full year 2014.
The Europe Foods & Beverages segment consists of products sold primarily under the Alpro brand. Net sales in the segment increased 17% on a constant currency basis and 6% on a reported basis in fourth quarter 2015 compared to fourth quarter 2014.
Operating income increased 20% on an adjusted constant currency and reported basis for fourth quarter 2015.
Expected growth in 2016
WhiteWave said that it expects continued category growth and volume growth across its core portfolio, along with contributions from its innovation pipeline and acquired businesses to drive strong constant currency net sales growth in 2016.
According to the company, the continued strengthening of the US dollar is expected to modestly lower reported net sales growth rates due to the translation of the Europe Foods & Beverages segment results, as well as the growing Canada sales presence embedded in the Americas Foods & Beverages segment.
WhiteWave management said the expectation is for first quarter 2016 net sales growth to be 12% to 13%, and full year 2016 net sales growth to be 11% to 12% on a constant currency basis.
China investment to continue
WhiteWave expects its adjusted operating income growth to be moderate over the first quarter of 2016 due to lower expected sales growth in fresh foods and expenses related to capacity expansion projects in its Europe Foods & Beverages segment, along with some commodity cost overlaps.
Management expects to continue to invest in its China joint venture to support the ongoing development of this business. The annual amount of the investment is forecasted to be between $10m and $12m.
Management projects capital expenditures will be approximately $325m to $350m for full year 2016, due to a shift in timing of certain expenditures and projects from calendar year 2015 into 2016, investments in additional production and warehousing capacity and other plant improvements to support continued growth expectations beyond 2016.