Hershey 3Q profit dips 10 pct on one-time charges

NEW YORK -- Hershey reported a 10 percent drop in third-quarter net income as one-time charges led to the first such decline in four quarters, but it raised its profit outlook for whole year.

The maker of Reese's Pieces, Hershey's Kisses and Jolly Ranchers earned $176.7 million, or 77 cents per share in the three-month period ended Sept. 30. That compares with $196.7 million, or 86 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Stripping out pension expenses, charges related to an acquisition and other items, earns were 87 cents per share. That edged out Wall Street expectations by a penny and it beat on revenue as well.

Revenue rose 7.5 percent to $1.75 billion.

"As we look to 2013, we assume the economic environment for retailers and consumers will continue to be challenging," said CEO John Bilbrey. "However, we believe the investments we've made have resulted in a business model that is more efficient and effective, enabling us to deliver predictable, consistent and achievable marketplace and financial performance."

The company said it has had a good start to the Halloween season. He noted that Hershey U.S. candy, mint and gum sales for the 12 weeks ended Oct. 6 was up 5.9 percent.

The Hershey Co. expects earnings per share for the current year to be in the range of $3.22 to $3.25. The company had previously said it would earn $3.17 to $3.23 per share. The new earnings prediction represents an increase of 14 percent to 15 percent compared with the year-ago results. Analysts expect $3.24 per share for the year, according to FactSet.

For fiscal 2013, the company expects to earn $3.37 per share to $3.49 per share. Analysts expect $3.57 per share, according to FactSet.

Shares slipped 52 cents to $69.60.