The company

The Hershey Company is the leading North American manufacturer of chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery. The company also is a leader in the gum and mint category.


The results

The Hershey Company on Friday announced sales and earnings for the third quarter ended September 30, 2012. Consolidated net sales were $1,746,709,000 compared with $1,624,249,000 for the third quarter of 2011. Reported net income for the third quarter of 2012 was $176,716,000 or $0.77 per share-diluted, compared with $196,695,000 or $0.86 per share-diluted for the comparable period of 2011.

Excluding net pre-tax charges and non-service-related pension expense the adjusted earnings was $199,451,000, or $0.87 per share-diluted, in the third quarter of 2012, compared with $193,959,000, or $0.84 per share-diluted, in the third quarter of 2011, an increase of 3.6 percent in adjusted earnings per share-diluted.

In the third quarter, despite macroeconomic challenges, Hershey's net sales increased 7.5 percent and the Hershey U.S. retail business, was up 5.9 percent, resulting in a market share gain of 1.1 points.


The outlook

The company reported that it expected adjusted earnings per share-diluted for the full-year to be in the $3.22 to $3.25 range, an increase of 14 to 15 percent versus 2011. Greater than the previous estimate of a 12 to 14 percent increase.

The boost comes as input costs are now expected to increase by less in 2012 than previously estimated. As a result, adjusted gross margin is now expected to increase 120 to 140 basis points (previous forecast of about a 100 to 120 basis points).


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Disclosure:  The author holds no positions in Hershey and has no intention to initiate any in the next 72 hours.