Strong finish to fiscal '12 boosts Hershey full-year earnings

by Staff
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HERSHEY, PA. — Increased sales and market share as well as seasonal strength helped contribute to a 5% increase in income at The Hershey Co. during the 2012.

Net income in the year ended Dec. 31, 2012, totaled $660,931,000, equal to $3.01 per share on the common stock, which compared with income of $628,962,000, or $2.85 per share, during the previous year. Sales for the year were $6,644,252,000, up 9% from $6,080,788,000.

The company was able to achieve income growth even considering acquisition and integration costs for the Brookside acquisition of $13.4 million and a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of $7.5 million.

“Hershey’s fourth-quarter financial and marketplace results represent a strong finish to 2012 and validate our strategy of focusing investments in the U.S. and key international geographies,” said John P. Bilbrey, president and chief executive officer. “As expected, fourth-quarter marketplace performance was solid, and we gained market share in every category — chocolate, non-chocolate, mint and gum. We had solid seasonal growth in 2012 with retail sell-through in measured channels in line with our estimates. Additionally, for the combined four seasons, and the important Halloween period, our market share gain was identical, 0.8 points. Our solid financial performance gave us flexibility in our approach to investments in global go-to-market capabilities that will benefit Hershey over the near and long term. We’ll build on our success in 2013 and are confident that our plans will drive core brand volume growth in U.S. and international markets.”

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, net income increased 5% to $149,879,000, or 69c per share, which compared with income of $142,133,000, or 65c per share, in the same period a year ago. Sales for the quarter were $1,751,035,000, up 12% from $1,567,145,000.

In 2013 the company expects diluted earnings per share in the range of $3.47 to $3.56. The company said growth in the next year will be driven by core brand volume growth, the launch of the Brookside product line, and innovations such as Kit Kat mini’s, Twizzlers Bites, Jolly Rancher Bites and future product introductions.
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