said earnings for the first quarter increased 7.1% from a year ago.
The company earned $121 million, or 50 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $113 million, or 45 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted for a one time business realignment charge of $1.2 million, the earnings for the quarter were $122.2 million, or 50 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of $124.8 million, or 51 cents a share.
The Hershey, Pa.-based company registered first-quarter revenue growth of 0.6%. The revenues of the company for the quarter were $1.1 billion as against the analysts' expectation of $1.2 billion.
The company's gross profit for the most recent quarter was $429.8 million, a fall of 0.2%. The gross profit margin fell 30 basis points to 37.9% while the operating profit margin rose 96 basis points to 18.5%. The operating profit of the company rose 6.1% to $209.7 million from the corresponding period last year.
"Importantly, Hershey's marketplace leadership continued to strengthen. We gained market share in all major product segments and across most classes of trade on both a seasonal and everyday basis. New products such as Kissables and Ice Breaker Ice Cubes were solid contributors to our share gains." the company said.
For this year, the company expects revenues to increase at the rate of 3% to 4% and diluted earnings at the rate of 9% to 11%.
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