HERSHEY, PA. — Despite high ingredient costs, income for The Hershey Co. was up 23% during 2011.
For the year ended Dec. 31, 2011, the company had income of $628,962,000, equal to $2.85 per share on the common stock, which compared with $509,799,000, or $2.29 per share, during fiscal 2010. Sales for the year were $6,080,788,000, up 7% from $5,671,009,000.

“In 2011, Hershey continued to make good progress against its business model and strategy of investing in core brands and capabilities in the U.S. and key international markets,” said John P. Bilbrey, president and chief executive officer. “Our success is reflected in our solid net sales growth and market share gains, giving us flexibility to make broad-based investments while delivering on our earnings objectives.

“Hershey’s fourth quarter represents a solid finish to 2011, and we expect to carry our momentum into 2012. In the fourth quarter, net sales increased 5.7%. Net price realization, primarily in the U.S., was a 5.9 point benefit. As expected, volume improved from last quarter, slightly greater than our expectations, increasing 0.4 points. New product introductions in the U.S. and our international markets, along with seasonal volume gains, were partially offset by volume declines, in line with our modeling, due to price elasticity. The impact of unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates in the quarter was about 0.6 points.”

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, the company had income of $142,133,000, or 65c per share, up 5% from $135,513,000, or 61c per share, during the same period of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $1,567,145,000, up 6% from $1,482,809,000 during the same quarter of the previous year.