Hershey forecasts annual profit above estimates on prices increases

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FILE PHOTO: Containers of Hershey's chocolate syrup are seen on display in a shop in New York City

– Hershey Co forecast full-year profit above Wall Street estimates on Thursday, driven by higher prices for its chocolates and candies to counter inflationary pressures and strong holiday demand.

Packaged food makers are grappling with rising prices for commodities such as sugar, wheat and soy, as well as soaring shipping and labor expenses as supply chains were strained during the pandemic.

To counter inflation, Hershey, like its peers, Campbell Soup Co, Kraft Heinz Co and Unilever PLC, has been bumping up product prices in recent months.

The company expects an annual adjusted profit of between $7.84 and $7.98 per share, compared with estimates of $7.57 per share.

Net sales rose to $2.33 billion in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $2.19 billion a year earlier, compared with estimates of $2.27 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

(Reporting by Mehr Bedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)