Hershey Posts Earnings Short of Estimates and Pulls Guidance

Hershey said the coronavirus pandemic had a "modest impact" on earnings. But revenue and adjusted earnings rose from a year earlier.
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Hershey  (HSY) - Get Report shares were steady on Thursday after the iconic chocolate-treat maker reported first-quarter earnings that lagged analysts’ expectations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Adjusted earnings per share totaled $1.63 in the quarter, up from $1.59 in the year-earlier quarter but below the FactSet analyst consensus of $1.71.

Sales rose to $2.04 billion in the latest quarter from $2.02 billion a year earlier, but were below analysts’ forecast of $2.08 billion.

GAAP net income registered $271.1 million, or $1.29 a share, down from $304.4 million, or $1.45, a year earlier.

Hershey said the pandemic had a "modest impact" on first-quarter earnings. Overseas sales fell 8.1% in the quarter, thanks to covid-19, with China sales dropping nearly 50%.

The company has withdrawn its full-year 2020 estimates because of the uncertainty.

“We had a solid start to the year, with our business performing as expected prior to the impact of covid-19,” Chief Executive Michele Buck said in a statement.

“At Hershey, we have an opportunity to help ensure a steady food supply and create some economic stability for our employees and the farmers, suppliers and partners that rely on us.”

The company will persevere, she said. “The situation continues to evolve rapidly, and it is difficult to predict the future with much certainty. But we have more than 125 years of experience managing through challenging, fast-moving and unprecedented moments in time.”

Hershey shares at last check were unchanged; they'd risen 1.2% to $143.28 in the Wednesday session. The stock has slid 6.4% in the past three months, compared with a 15.7% drop for the S&P 500.