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Hershey's profit falls 50 percent, but expects sweeter year

FILE – In this March 10, 2006, file photo, Hershey's Chocolate Kisses are seen coming off a pretend production line at Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey, Pa. Hershey's said Friday, Feb. 3, 2017, it expects a stronger year as it introduces new chocolates and snacks, after fourth-quarter profit fell by nearly 50 percent amid rising costs. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) -- Hershey's fourth-quarter profit fell by nearly 50 percent as the chocolate company's costs rose, but it said Friday that it expects a stronger year as it introduces new chocolates and snacks.

The company recently began rolling out a chocolate bar stuffed with cookies called Hershey's Cookie Layer Crunch. It also plans to grow its Krave jerky brand, which it bought in 2015, with more choices.

Hershey expects earnings for full year to be between $4.72 per share and $4.81 per share, far above the $4.64 per share analysts expected, according to FactSet.

Next month, Hershey is getting a new CEO. Michele Buck, the company's executive vice president and chief operating officer, is replacing John Bilbrey, who is retiring. Last year, the Hershey, Pennsylvania, company rejected a preliminary $22.3 billion takeover offer from Oreo maker Mondelez.

For the fourth quarter, Hershey reported net income of $116.9 million, or 55 cents per share, compared with $227.9 million, or $1.04 per share, in the same period last year. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs, came to $1.17 per share, beating Wall Street expectations of $1.08 per share, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Revenue rose 3 percent to $1.97 billion, falling short of Street forecasts. Four analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $1.99 billion.

For the year, the company reported profit of $720 million, or $3.34 per share. Revenue was reported as $7.44 billion.

Shares of the Hershey Co. slipped in early trading Friday.


Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on HSY at https://www.zacks.com/ap/HSY


Keywords: Hershey, Earnings Report