Hershey's profit rises on strong demand, lower costs


Hershey Co on Thursday reported an 18 percent jump in second-quarter earnings and raised its outlook for the year, boosted by a stronger demand for Reese's, Kit Kat and Ice Breakers candy as well as lower commodity costs.

The company said profit rose to $159.5 million, or 70 cents per share, from $135.7 million, or 59 cents per share, a year earlier.

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Excluding plant expansion costs and pension expenses, earnings were 72 cents per share, beating the analysts' average estimate by a penny, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

It raised its forecast for 2013 earnings per share, excluding special items, to a range of $3.68 to $3.71 from a prior outlook of $3.61 to $3.65.

Sales rose 7 percent to $1.51 billion from $1.41 billion a year earlier, in line with analysts' estimates.

Hershey said it expected full-year sales to increase about 7 percent.

(Reporting By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Lisa Von Ahn)