• Net income rises to US$162m
  • Sales flat
  • Raises EPS outlook

US confectioner Hershey today (22 October) raised its full-year outlook after posting an increase in third-quarter earnings.

Hershey said that net income for the third quarter increased to US$162m or $0.71 per share, up from $124m, or $0.54 per share, last year. For the third quarters of 2009 and 2008, earnings included pre-tax charges of $11m and $31m respectively, related to the group's Global Supply Chain Transformation (GSCT) programme.

Although net sales were flat at $1.48bn, the company emphasised that retail takeaway sales - which now account for over 80% of total US sales - rose 4.8% during the period.

"Increased levels of in-store programming and merchandising, as well as outstanding execution at the retail level, continue to drive our positive marketplace results in the food, convenience and mass classes of trade. We'll continue to invest in our brands and business capabilities and anticipate a solid finish to the year," president and CEO David West said.

Hershey said that it anticipates full-year net sales growth to fall in a 3-5% range, while the confectioner raised its EPS guidance to a $2.12-$2.14 range.

Click here for the full release and click here to find out what Hershey president and CEO David West told analysts about the outlook for margins and commodity costs.