Los Angeles Business Journal

Herbalife Raises Outlook on Strong Quarter

By Deborah Crowe Originally published October 30, 2012 at 1:54 p.m., updated October 31, 2012 at 3:13 p.m.

Herbalife Ltd. reported third quarter results that exceeded Wall Street expectations and raised its full-year guidance as demand for its weight-loss products grew in emerging markets.

The Los Angeles maker of nutritional supplements and personal care products late Monday reported net income of nearly $118 million ($1.04 a share) compared with $108 million (87 cents) in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 14 percent to $1 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected the company to earn $1.01 a share on revenue of less than $997 million.

Herbalife, which sells its products through a network of independent distributors, raised its full earnings outlook to a range of $3.99 to $4.03 a share, compared with an earlier range of $3.88 to $3.98. The Wall Street consensus is for $3.97 a share.

In addition, the company expects its profit next year to be in the range of $4.40 to $4.55 a share. Chief Executive Michael Johnson credited much of the company’s momentum to a shift in how its distributors sell products – especially its weight-loss shakes – via home and storefront “nutrition clubs” in communities where customers have lower disposable income.

“Over the last several years, a substantial portion of our growth has come from our distributors around the world moving to daily consumption business methods,” Johnson said in a Tuesday conference call with analysts. “We believe that these business methods now generate approximately 40 percent of our volume.”

Sales volume points – the way Herbalife tracks and compares its business worldwide to account for currency differences – rose 14 percent in North America, 17 percent each in the Asia-Pacific and Mexico, 24 percent in Central and South America, 10 percent in Europe-Middle East-Africa and 42 percent in China.

The markets were closed on Tuesday. Herbalife shares on Wednesday closed up 75 cents, or 1.5 percent, to $51.35 on the New York Stock Exchange.