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Hershey Q1 Profit Climbs; Updates 2012 Forecast - Quick Facts

Hershey Co. (HSY) posted first-quarter profit of $198.65 million, or $0.87 per share, higher than last year's $160.12 million or $0.70 per share.

Adjusted earnings per share rose to $0.96 from $0.73 in the prior-year quarter. On average, 14 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.81 per share. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Net sales grew to $1.73 billion from $1.56 billion a year ago. Analysts estimated revenues of $1.66 billion.

"Hershey's strong start to the year is the result of our continued strategy of disciplined investment in core brands in both the U.S. and key international markets," said John Bilbrey, President and Chief Executive Officer. "In the first quarter, net sales increased 10.7 percent. Net price realization was a 10.9 point benefit while volume, slightly greater than our expectations due to a solid Easter, was off 0.5 point compared with the prior year. The Brookside acquisition was a 0.7 point benefit and the foreign currency exchange rate was a 0.4 point headwind..."

In 2012, the company now expects reported earnings per share-diluted of $2.82 to $2.92. Adjusted earnings per share-diluted are now anticipated to increase 10-12%. Full year net sales are currently expected to increase 7-9%, including Brookside acquisition.

Earlier, the company anticipated earnings per share of $2.79 - $2.89 and adjusted earnings per share of $3.08 - $3.14.

Net sales were expected to increase 5 percent - 7 percent. Analysts expect the company to earn $3.14 per share, on revenues of $6.51 billion.

by RTT Staff Writer

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