Nu Skin ups forecast as China demand for anti-ageing products surges

Oct 31 (Reuters) - Nu Skin Enterprises Inc's quarterly results handily beat Wall Street expectations on strong performance of its anti-ageing and nutritional supplement businesses in China, prompting the company to raise its full-year forecast for the sixth time.

The company, which sells beauty products under the ageLOC brand, and nutritional supplements under the Pharmanex brand, now expects t o earn between $3.33 and $3.37 per share, on revenue of between $2.10 billion and $2.11 billion.

Nu Skin had previously expected earnings of between $3.16 and $3.24 per share and revenue of between $2.00 billion and $2.03 billion.

Analysts were looking for earnings of $3.25 per share on sales of $2.03 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Nu Skin has been launching new products and stepping up expansion in emerging markets, including China and South Asia, where it has benefited from higher demand for its anti-ageing ageLOC brand.

The company's China business in August came under attack from short-seller Andrew Left's Citron Research. Citron said Nu Skin's direct-selling business in China was actually ``pyramid-selling'' and was illegal under Chinese law.

Nu Skin, however defended its China operations, saying they were in compliance with local regulations and noted that the government had issued it new direct selling licenses in several territories over the past year.

Net profit for the third quarter rose to $54.2 million, or 87 c ents per share, from $46.8 m illion, or 72 c ents per share, a year earlier. 1/8 I D:nPNLA03079 3/8

Revenue grew 23 percent to $526.2 million.

Sales in Greater China grew 64 percent to $136.6 million in the quarter. The region accounted for 26 percent of total sales.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 77 cents per share on revenue of $480.7 million.

Shares of the Provo, Utah-based company, which have lost 16 percent of their value this year, were up 3 percent at $43.21 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning.