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Schiff Nutrition rises as 4Q sales grow 25 percent

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Schiff Nutrition posted surprisingly strong numbers for the third quarter Thursday as the company delved more deeply into branded drugs, and it boosted its sales forecast, sending shares up 7 percent in midday trading.

"Net sales grew 25 percent, which was driven by a 53 percent increase in our branded business," said President and CEO Tarang Amin. "These results reflect successful execution against Schiff's growth strategy as we invest to build premium brands and lead innovation in our categories.

Amin was appointed CEO early last year and by June, the company spent $40 million to acquire supplements developed by Ganedan Biotech Inc.

Schiff Nutrition International Inc. rose Thursday after the vitamin maker said its sales grew 25 percent in the fiscal third quarter, and the company raised its expectations for the year.

On Thursday, Schiff posted net income of $4.6 million, or 16 cents per share, over the three months ended Feb. 29. A year earlier profits were $4 million, or 14 cents per share. Revenue grew 25 percent, to $72.2 million from $57.7 million on better sales of its Schiff Move Free and Schiff MegaRed vitamins and greater revenue from brand-name products.

The company said it now expects its sales to grow between 16 percent and 19 percent in fiscal 2012, which implies total revenue of $247.8 million to $254.2 million. Previously Schiff had forecast growth of 12 percent to 15 percent.

Shares of Schiff Nutrition International Inc., based in Salt Lake City, rose 74 cents to $11.71 before noon.