The Hershey Co. announces sales and earnings for the fourth quarter ended Dec.31, 2012. Consolidated net sales were $1,751,035,000 compared with $1,567,145,000 for the fourth quarter of 2011. Reported net income for the fourth quarter of 2012 was $149,879,000 or $0.66 per share-diluted, compared with $142,133,000 or $0.62 per share-diluted for the comparable period of 2011.
“Hershey’s fourth quarter financial and marketplace results represent a strong finish to 2012 and validate our strategy of focusing investments in the U.S. and key international geographies,” said John P. Bilbrey, president and chief executive officer, the Hershey Co., in a prepared statement. “As expected, fourth quarter marketplace performance was solid and we gained market share in every category – chocolate, non-chocolate, mint and gum. We had solid seasonal growth in 2012, with retail sell-through in measured channels in line with our estimates. Additionally, for the combined four seasons, and the important Halloween period, our market share gain was identical, 0.8 points. Our solid financial performance gave us flexibility in our approach to investments in global go-to-market capabilities that will benefit Hershey over the near and long-term. We’ll build on our success in 2013 and are confident that our plans will drive core brand volume growth in U.S. and international markets.”
For the fourth quarter of 2012, these results, prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), included net pre-tax charges of $24.3 million or $0.08 per share-diluted. These charges included $7.9 million, or $0.03 per share-diluted, related to the Project Next Century program, non-service-related pension expense (NSRPE) of $7.6 million, or $0.02 per share-diluted, and acquisition and integration costs related to Brookside Foods Ltd. (Brookside) of $1.3 million. Additionally, the company recorded a non-cash impairment charge of $7.5 million, or $0.03 per share-diluted, related to its 69 percent investment in Tri-US, Inc. of Boulder, Colorado, a company that manufactured nutritional beverages under the “mix1®” brand name. As a result, reported gross margin of 43.1 percent increased 280 basis points versus last year while reported income before interest and income taxes (EBIT) margin of 14.4 percent declined 20 basis points versus 2011. For the fourth quarter of 2011, results included pre-tax charges for Project Next Century and the Global Supply Chain Transformation Program of $27.7 million, or $0.08 per share-diluted, and $1.0 million of NSRPE. Adjusted net income, which excludes these net charges, was $169,186,000, or $0.74 per share-diluted, in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with $160,325,000, or $0.70 per share-diluted, in the fourth quarter of 2011, an increase of 5.7 percent in adjusted earnings per share-diluted.
For the full-year 2012, consolidated net sales were $6,644,252,000, compared with $6,080,788,000 in 2011, an increase of 9.3 percent. Reported net income for 2012 was $660,931,000, or $2.89 per share-diluted, compared with $628,962,000 or $2.74 per share-diluted, for 2011. For the full-years 2012 and 2011, these results, prepared in accordance with GAAP, included net pre-tax charges of $117.7 million and $35.0 million, or $0.35 and $0.09 per share-diluted, respectively. Charges associated with the Project Next Century program for 2012 and 2011 were $76.3 million and $43.4 million, or $0.22 and $0.11 per share-diluted, respectively. NSRPE for 2012 and 2011 was $20.6 million and $2.8 million, or $0.06 and $0.01 per share-diluted, respectively.
Additionally, 2012 results were impacted by acquisition and integration costs related to the Brookside acquisition of $13.4 million, or $0.04 per share-diluted and the aforementioned non-cash goodwill impairment charge of $7.5 million, or $0.03 per share-diluted. Net charges in 2011 also included a pre-tax gain on the sale of non-core trademark licensing rights of $17.0 million, or $0.05 per share-diluted and a $5.8 million, or $0.02 per share-diluted, charge related to the Global Supply Chain Transformation Program. As described in the Note, adjusted net income for each year, which excludes these net charges, was $740,040,000, or $3.24 per share-diluted in 2012, compared with $650,706,000, or $2.83 per share-diluted in 2011, an increase of 14.5 percent in adjusted earnings per share-diluted.
In 2013, the company expects reported earnings per share-diluted of $3.47 to $3.56. This projection, prepared in accordance with GAAP, assumes business realignment charges and NSRPE costs of $0.07 to $0.09 per share-diluted. Charges associated with the Project Next Century program are expected to be $0.03 to $0.05 per share-diluted while NSRPE is expected to be $0.04 per share-diluted. Despite the impact of these charges in 2013, reported gross margin is expected to increase 250 to 270 basis points.
Fourth Quarter Performance
Hershey's fourth quarter net sales increased 11.7 percent. As expected, organic core brand volume trends sequentially improved driven by the U.S. business. Specifically, volume, excluding the Brookside acquisition, was a 7.0 point benefit as everyday and seasonal product volume was more than double the contribution from new products. Net price realization and foreign currency exchange rates were a 2.3 point and 0.3 point benefit, respectively. For the fourth quarter and full year, the Brookside acquisition was a 2.1 point and 1.9 point benefit, respectively.
Hershey’s U.S. candy, mint and gum (CMG) retail takeaway for the 12 weeks and year ended Dec. 29, 2012, in the expanded all outlet combined plus convenience store channels (xAOC+C-store), which accounts for approximately 90 percent of the Company’s U.S. retail business, was up 7.0 percent and 5.7 percent, resulting in market share gains of 1.2 points and 0.6 points, respectively. U.S. CMG volume and unit trends at retail continued to progress in the fourth quarter and that is the expectation for 2013.
Fourth quarter adjusted gross margin increased 140 basis points driven by net price realization and supply chain productivity and cost savings initiatives, partially offset by higher input costs. Selling, marketing and administrative (SM&A) expenses, excluding advertising, increased about 19 percent in the fourth quarter, slightly greater than initial estimates, driven by planned investments in global go-to-market capabilities, selling and marketing costs and other employee-related expenses. As a result, adjusted EBIT increased 7.4 percent generating adjusted EBIT margin of 15.8 percent, a 60 basis point decline versus last year. For the fourth quarter and full year, advertising increased 27 percent and 16 percent, respectively, supporting new product launches as well as core U.S. and international brands.
The company expects 2013 net sales growth of 5 to 7 percent, including the impact of foreign currency exchange rates. Net sales will be driven primarily by core brand volume growth, the U.S. launch of the Brookside product line in the food, drug and mass channels, as well as innovation such as Kit Kat mini’s, Twizzlers Bites, Jolly Rancher Bites and yet to be announced products. In key international markets such as China, the company will extend the portfolio with the introduction of Hershey’s Kisses Deluxe and build on the fourth quarter launch of Hershey’s solid chocolate products in instant consumable and take home pack types. In Brazil, new capacity was installed to support geographic expansion of Hershey’s Mais chocolate.
As stated in October, gross margin is expected to increase in 2013, driven by productivity, cost savings initiatives and overall input cost deflation. Therefore, the company expects 2013 adjusted gross margin expansion of 180 to 200 basis points. Given this financial flexibility, in 2013 the company will accelerate some SM&A investments. Advertising is expected to increase approximately 20 percent versus last year resulting in an advertising-to-sales ratio of about 8 percent. Advertising spending on core U.S. brands is expected to be about in line with last year’s increase. Incremental advertising in 2013 will support the Brookside launch and innovation in both the U.S. and international markets, including a broader advertising campaign of the Hershey’s brand in China. SM&A expenses, excluding advertising, are expected to increase at a rate greater than net sales. These investments will build on the go-to-market capabilities established over the last few years, as well as the consumer insights work underway in key international markets for the five global brands - Hershey’s, Reese’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers – that the company believes can transcend borders around the world. Additionally, the company will continue to support its Insights Driven Performance initiative, invest in international selling and marketing functions and support new products with increased levels of consumer promotion and sampling to drive trial and repeat. As a result, the company anticipates adjusted earnings per share-diluted growth for the full year to be in the 10 to 12 percent range. This is greater than the previous estimate of an 8 to 10 percent increase.
“Hershey had a solid 2012 and we expect to build on our success in 2013,” continued Bilbrey. “In 2012 we opened one of the most technologically advanced chocolate manufacturing facilities in our hometown of Hershey, Pa., initiated and completed construction of a new innovation center in Shanghai, successfully integrated the Brookside business and increased market share in key geographies as well as across all channels in our U.S. business. While the macroeconomic environment remains challenging, we are well positioned to succeed in the marketplace and deliver on our commitments in 2013,” Bilbrey concluded.