Herbalife profit beats estimates; raises full year forecast

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February 20, 2013 9:14 AM EST

Weight-loss and vitamin company Herbalife Ltd posted a quarterly profit that beat Wall Street expectations, helped by stronger sales primarily in Asia Pacific, and raised its full-year earnings outlook.

Herbalife, which also sells energy, sports & fitness and personal care products, now expects earnings of $4.45 (2.8 pounds) to $4.65 per share for the year, up from its prior view of $4.02 to $4.05 per share.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of $4.64 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company's stock has become the site of a battle royale between some of the hedge fund industry's biggest players, including Pershing Square Capital's William Ackman and Icahn Enterprises' Carl Icahn.

Activist investor Ackman alleged in December that the company was a "pyramid scheme" and said he was shorting the stock.

However, Icahn and hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb revealed long positions in the stock. Loeb said the stock could rise as much as $68.

The company said last month it expected a temporary bump in expenses due to its fight with Ackman.

The company's fourth-quarter income rose to $117.8 million, or $1.05 per share, from $105.4 million, or 86 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose about 20 percent to $1.06 billion.

Analysts had expected earnings of $1.03 per share on revenue of $1.05 billion.

Herbalife shares closed at $39.74 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Arpita Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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