Hershey Foods reported a 12% rise in first-quarter profits on the back of higher revenues from it leading chocolate brands in the US.

The confectioner said net income rose to US$78.9m from US$71.2m, beating market estimates. Revenues rose to US$1.08bn from US$993m.

"The integration of the newly acquired intense mints and gum businesses has gone smoothly,'' Chief Executive Richard Lenny said in a statement. "In addition to the incremental earnings from these businesses, we benefited from improved logistics and commodities costs, as well as other operating efficiencies, offset somewhat by higher marketing expense.''

Lenny said the companies improved position was boosted by retail sales of seasonal products, improved presentation of candy on retail shelves and better customer service. He said sales continue to outpace the industry average

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