Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Herbalife 2nd-Quarter Net Up 20% on Broad-Based Sales Growth


Herbalife Ltd.'s (HLF) second-quarter profit rose 20% as the nutrition company saw broad-based growth in sales volume.

The company also raised its full-year earnings outlook, now seeing a profit of $3.88 to $3.98 a share on year-over-year revenue growth of 15% to 17%. It had previously targeted per-share earnings of $3.58 to $3.74 a share on revenue growth of 12.5% to 14.5%. 

Shares were up 5.7% in after-hours trading to $54.65. Through the close, the stock was down 26% in the past three months. 

Herbalife sells a range of products, including weight-loss shakes and fitness supplements, operating through a wide global network of independent distributors. In May, the company said it would buy back the rest of the $427.9 million remaining in a stock repurchase plan in an effort to counter a share sell-off started when hedge-fund manager David Einhorn dropped in on Herbalife's first-quarter earnings conference call, and questioned the company's financial reporting. 

Mr. Einhorn, of Greenlight Capital Inc., is known for short selling, or betting on a decline in shares of companies whose business practices he questions. 

On Monday, the company added another $1 billion to its stock buyback plan, available over the next five years. 

In the latest quarter, Herbalife reported a profit of $133.4 million, or $1.10 a share, up from $111.2 million, or 88 cents a share, a year earlier. 

Sales jumped 17% to $1.03 billion, with growth across all but one of the regions in which it operates, and particular strength in the Asia Pacific region, which is now its biggest sales generator.
The company had projected earnings between 91 cents and 95 cents a share, on sales growth of 9.5% to 11.5%. 

Gross margin narrowed slightly to 80.3% from 80.6%. 

For the current quarter, the company sees earnings of 97 cents to $1.01 a share on sales growth of 10% to 12%. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had recently predicted earnings of 99 cents on revenue growth of roughly 10%.

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