US confectionery firm The Hershey Company has reported lower quarterly results due to one-time charges relates to its business realignment strategy.

The company posted net income of US$119.5m, or 48 cents per share, for the third quarter to 2 October, compared to $166.2m, or 66 cents per share, for the year-ago period. Results for the latest quarter include pre-tax charges of $101.4m, or 27 cents per share, associated with the previously announced business realignment programme aimed at improving the company's value-enhancing strategy.

Consolidated net sales for the third quarter were $1.37bn, compared with $1.25bn for the third quarter of 2004, an increase of 9.1%.

"Our results for the third quarter continued the momentum from the first half behind new product innovation, strong seasonal sales, and net price realisation," said Richard H. Lenny, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

"Sales growth, excluding the impact of business acquisitions, of 6.5% was broad-based with solid gains in both our core confectionery business and our new snack platforms. Acquisitions contributed 2.6% to the total top-line growth. The combination of strong top-line growth and tight expense control, despite higher input costs, resulted in record profitability. Excluding the one-time charges, diluted earnings per share from operations increased 13.6%," he added.