HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) — The Hershey Co. said Wednesday that net income rose 5 percent in the fourth quarter, despite higher ingredients costs.
The Pennsylvania chocolate maker said net income climbed to $142.1 million, or 62 cents a share, from $135.5 million, or 59 cents a share. After stripping out one-time expenses, including charges for carrying out a new cost-cutting program, earnings per share came in at 70 cents. That was in line with the predictions of analysts polled by FactSet.
Revenue at Hershey, the maker of Reese's, Rolo and Jolly Rancher, jumped 5.7 percent to $1.57 billion, beating estimates of $1.55 billion.
The cost-cutting includes a program called Project Next Century, which was launched in 2010 and included cutting jobs and ending production at the old factory that Milton Hershey built.
CEO John Bilbrey said that any gains from the cost-cutting, as well as gains from charging higher prices to customers, were "more than offset" by higher costs the company paid for materials to make and ship its candies.
The company also signaled that it's looking outside the U.S. for revenue growth, a tack many companies are taking as recession-weary Americans remain cautious about spending. In January, Hershey bought a privately held candy company in Canada called Brookside Foods Lt. Later this year, it will open a research and development center in Shanghai.
For the year, net income jumped 23 percent to $629 million, and revenue climbed 7.2 percent to $6.1 billion.