The Hershey Company Earnings: Powering Ahead

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) reported its results for the fourth quarter. Hershey manufactures chocolate and confectionery products, food and beverage enhancers and gum and mint refreshment products.

Investing Insights: Will the iPad 3 Be the Next Catalyst for Apple’s Stock?

The Hershey Company Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Fourth Quarter

Results: Net income for the confectioner rose to $142.1 million (62 cents per share) vs. $135.5 million (59 cents per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 4.9% from the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 5.7% to $1.57 billion from the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: HSY reported adjusted net income of 70 cents per share. By that measure, the company fell in line with the mean estimate of 70 cents per share. Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.56 billion.

Quoting Management: “In 2011, Hershey continued to make good progress against its business model and strategy of investing in core brands and capabilities in the U.S. and key international markets,” said John P. Bilbrey, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our success is reflected in our solid net sales growth and market share gains, giving us flexibility to make broad-based investments while delivering on our earnings objectives.”

Key Stats:

The company has now seen net income rise in three straight quarters. In the third quarter, net income rose 9.2% and in the second quarter, the figure rose more than twofold.

Gross margin shrank 1.5 percentage points to 40.3%. The contraction appeared to be driven by increased costs, which rose 8.4% from the year earlier quarter while revenue rose 5.7%.

Revenue has risen the past four quarters. Revenue increased 5% to $1.62 billion in the third quarter. The figure rose 7.5% in the second quarter from the year earlier and climbed 11.1% in the first quarter from the year-ago quarter.

The company has now fallen in line with estimates for the past two quarters. It reported net income of 84 cents in the third quarter.

Looking Forward: Expectations for the first quarter of the next fiscal year have not changed from 80 cents. The average estimate for the fiscal year has remained at $2.82 per share.

(Company fundamentals provided by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

Don’t Miss These Additional Hot Earnings Stories:

Amazon.com Inc. Earnings: Net Income Beats Expectations

Pfizer Inc. Earnings: Four Quarters of Rising Profit Now Broken

Exxon Mobil Corp Earnings: Positive Earnings Streak

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com