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Hershey Cuts 2007 Earnings Growth Forecast

Hershey's Kisses
AP
Hershey's Kisses

Chocolate maker Hershey lowered its earnings growth outlook for fiscal 2007, citing higher dairy input costs.

The company said it now expects a 4% to 6% growth in earnings from operations in 2007, compared with a prior forecast of 7% to 9% earnings growth.

On a per share basis, the company expects 2007 earnings from continuing operations of $2.46 to $2.51, on net sales growth of 3% to 4%.

Analysts on average have forecast 2007 earnings of $2.54, on revenue of $5.10 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Hershey said earnings from operations are expected to be 34 cents to 35 cents in the second quarter. Wall Street expects the company to earn 43 cents a share.

In 2007, the Company expects to record charges of about $270 million to $300 million, or 75 cents to 84 cents a share.

Hershey's said its long-term expectations of net sales growth of 3 to 4% and earnings growth from continuing operations of 9 to 11%, remain unchanged.