Hershey 3Q results mixed, lowers 2014 forecasts for adjusted earnings per share, revenue

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HERSHEY, Pennsylvania — Hershey's third-quarter net income fell 4 percent as costs rose.

The chocolate bar and candy maker's adjusted profit missed analysts' expectations, while revenue met Wall Street's view. The company lowered its 2014 forecasts for adjusted earnings per share and revenue. Its shares fell almost 3 percent in midday dealings Wednesday.

Hershey earned $223.7 million, or $1 per share, for the period ended Sept. 28, down from $233 million, or $1.03 per share, a year ago.

Excluding certain items, earnings were $1.05 per share.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet predicted earnings of $1.08 per share.

Total costs and expenses climbed to $1.6 billion from $1.48 billion.

Revenue increased 6 percent to $1.96 billion from $1.85 billion, matching Wall Street's estimates.

Sales in North America rose 4.2 percent on new products and strong sales tied to Halloween. International sales climbed 18.4 percent.

The Hershey, Pennsylvania company now foresees 2014 adjusted earnings per share climbing about 8 percent. Revenue is expected to increase approximately 4.75 percent, including the impact of foreign exchange rates and a contribution from acquisitions.

Its prior guidance was for adjusted earnings per share rising around the low end of its long-term target of 9 percent to 11 percent. Revenue was previously expected to increase around the low end of Hershey's long-term target of 5 percent to 7 percent growth.

In 2015, Hershey Co. anticipates its adjusted earnings per share will climb 9 percent to 11 percent. Revenue is expected to increase about 7 percent to 9 percent.

Its shares dropped $2.64, or 2.8 percent, to $92.89 in midday trading. Its shares have fallen 8 percent over the past year.

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