February 26, 2019 / 9:49 PM / 24 days ago

Dean Foods explores options including sale

FILE PHOTO: TruMoo chocolate milk produced by Dean Foods Co. is shown in this illustration photograph in Encinitas, California United States May 10, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - U.S. milk processor Dean Foods Co said on Tuesday it was exploring options for the company including a sale, as it struggles with falling milk consumption in the country.

Shares of the Texas-based company rose 9 percent to $4.96 in extended trading.

The owner of milk brands TruMoo and Barber’s has been rocked by shifting consumer preference for non-dairy and private-label alternatives, forcing it to close plants and sever contracts with independent dairy suppliers.

The company has missed earnings estimates in six of the last eight quarters, according to Refinitiv data.

Dean Foods is also looking at options such as the sale of certain assets or the formation of a joint venture.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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