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UPDATE 1-Hershey profit tops expectations by a penny

Oct 25 (Reuters) - Hershey Co reported a slightly higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday and raised its full-year outlook, citing the benefit of an acquisition and commodity costs that should not be as high as anticipated.

The candy maker said third-quarter net income was $176.7 million, or 77 cents per share, down from $196.7 million, or 86 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time charges, pension expenses and other items, earnings were 87 cents per share. On that basis, analysts on average were expecting 86 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose to $1.75 billion from $1.62 billion.

Hershey said it now expected full-year earnings of $3.22 to $3.25 per share before items, an increase of 14 percent to 15 percent from 2011. Its prior forecast called for a rise of 12 percent to 14 percent.

The company said commodity costs would be higher in 2012 than last year, but that the increase would not be as much as expected. As a result, adjusted gross margin should increase 120 to 140 basis points, which is greater than its previous forecast of 100 to 120 basis points.

The company also said its recent acquisition of Brookside would add slightly to earnings for the year.