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Herbalife 1Q results beat analysts' expectations

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Herbalife Ltd. on Monday reported better-than-expected net income and revenue in the first quarter. The nutritional and weight loss supplement maker also raised its full-year forecast.

The company reported after the market closed that it earned $118.9 million, or $1.10 per share, for the quarter that ended March 31. That compares with $108.2 million, or 88 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. Excluding one-time items it made $1.27 per share in the recent quarter.

Revenue increased 17 percent to $1.12 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet, on average, expected adjusted earnings of $1.07 per share on revenue of $1.11 billion.

Herbalife made notable gains overseas, with sales volume improving in South and Central America, as well as Asia. The company said its independent distributors are using a number of strategies to encourage customers to use Herbalife products daily.

Herbalife now expects adjusted earnings $1.14 to $1.18 per share in the current quarter and $4.60 and $4.80 per share for the year. It previously forecast earnings of $4.45 to $4.65 for the year.

Analysts estimated earnings of $1.26 per share for the quarter and $4.67 for the year.

Herbalife also announced a quarterly dividend of 30 cents per share, payable May 28 to shareholders of record on May 14.

The company's stock has been volatile, with the company in the middle of a feud between two well-known investors — Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman.

Ackman has publicly attacked Herbalife, saying its business model amounts to a pyramid scheme that generates money by recruiting new salespeople, rather than selling products. Icahn disagrees and has increased his stake in the company. In February the dogfight spilled into the public arena as Ackman and Icahn got into a shouting match on live television.

Herbalife has vehemently fought against Ackman's characterization of the company and said Ackman wanted to push the stock down for his own benefit.

Earlier this month the company agreed to nominate two individuals to its board chosen by Icahn, in return for him capping his stake in the company at 25 percent. Analysts and investors previously speculated that the activist investor might try to take Herbalife private.

Herbalife shares rose 48 cents to close at $38.75 amid a broad market rally.