Los Angeles Business Journal

Herbalife’s Quarter Beats Expectations

By Deborah Crowe Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Herbalife Ltd late Tuesday reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter, boosted by stronger sales in Asia Pacific and other younger markets for its weight-loss and nutritional supplement products.

After the markets closed, the downtown L.A. company reported net income of nearly $118 million ($1.05 a share), 12 percent higher than in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue rose 20 percent to $1.06 billion. In its three largest markets, revenue rose 19 percent to $295 million in the Asia Pacific region, 31 percent to $203 in South and Central America, and 18 percent to $197 million in North America. Sales in China, which is counted separately from Asia Pacific, were up 14 percent to $67 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average had expected net income of $1.03 per share on revenue of $1.05 billion.

Herbalife significantly raised its full full-year earnings guidance: It now expects net income of $4.45 to $4.65 a share, up from its prior forecast of $4.02 to $4.05 per share.

The company said the guidance excludes anticipated one-time costs of $10 million to $20 million to cover legal and advisory services in fighting allegations from hedge fund investor William Ackman, who has been shorting the stock for several months and accusing the company of operating an unsustainable Ponzi scheme.

In addition Herblaife said it bought back 4 million shares at an average cost of $40.61 to take advantage of the drop in share price following Ackman’s allegations.

Shares earlier closed up $1, or nearly 3 percent, to $39.74 on the New York Stock Exchange.