Weight Watchers International has reported a 12% jump in its full year net earnings, to US$1,151.3 million from $1,024.9m in 2004.

In a statement, the company said full-year 2005 reported net income of $174.4m and fully diluted earnings per share of $1.67 included $0.27 per share of non-recurring expenses, net of taxes, related to the WeightWatchers.com, Inc. acquisition. This compared to full-year 2004 reported net income of $183.1m and fully diluted earnings per share of $1.71.

However, excluding charges in both years, fully diluted earnings per share increased 11% from $1.75 in 2004 to $1.94 in 2005.

Looking forward the company said it was providing full-year 2006 earnings guidance of between $2.18 and $2.28 per fully diluted share, excluding expenses related to stock-based compensation. The company estimates that these excluded expenses will amount to $0.08 to $0.09 per fully diluted share.

The company also announced today that its board of directors authorised the initiation of a quarterly cash dividend of $0.175 per share of Weight Watchers International common stock, which corresponds to an annual dividend rate of $0.70 per share.

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