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April 24, 2012

US: Hershey ups 2012 earnings forecast

Hershey raised its 2012 earnings forecast today (24 April) as it revealed continued investment in its core brands and price increases helped to boost first-quarter earnings.

Hershey raised its 2012 earnings forecast today (24 April) as it revealed continued investment in its core brands and price increases helped to boost first-quarter earnings.

The US confectionery giant booked a 24% increase in net profit to US$198.6m in the three months ended 1 April. Hershey said earnings were boosted by continued investment in its core brands in both the US and in key international markets, as well as price increases during the quarter.

EBIT amounted to $334.5m, a 20.9% increase on the prior-year period, while consolidated net sales climbed 10.9% to reach $1.73bn.

Hershey president and CEO John Bilbrey said the company is “off to a good start to the year, despite the challenging economic environment”.

“As we enter the second quarter we are well-positioned to deliver on our financial objectives. Advertising, new products, merchandising and programming, and focused in-store retail execution will continue throughout the year. This will keep us on track with our projections and help mitigate declines due to price elasticity,” he said.

In 2012, the company said it now expects to report 2012 earnings of $3.11 per share to $3.17 per share, excluding one-time items. Its prior forecast was $3.08 to $3.14.

Full-year net sales are now expected to rise 7-9%, which is up slightly from its prior estimate of a 6.5-8.5% increase. This takes into account the acquisition of Canadian confectionery firm Brookside Foods in December last year.

Click here to view the full earnings release and click here for coverage of the company’s conference call with analysts to discuss its results.

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