Hershey looks to make an acquisition

Hershey, Pa.-confectioner mum on specifics, but hopes acquisition helps it reach $10 billion in net sales

The Hershey Co. announced plans for a pretty sweet future this week — including a possible acquisition.

At a company-sponsored meeting, the company said it plans to reach $10 billion in net sales by the end 2017, partly doing so by acquiring another company.

While possible purchases were not outlined, Hershey did acquire Canada’s Brookside Foods in January.

“I’m optimistic and excited about our future,” explains John P. Bilbrey, Hershey ceo and president. “We are focused and know what we need to do to succeed. We have strong plans in place that will enable us to win wherever we compete.”

Bilbrey also says Hershey plans to amplify its international presence, expanding core brands such as Hershey’s, Reese’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Jolly Rancher and Ice Breakers around the world. While Hershey has long been the number one selling chocolate in the United States, Mars has a greater international chocolate presence.

“We have a global organization that we’re equipping with resources and tools to win in the marketplace,” Bilbrey says.

The company expects to top the $6.1 billion in sales it reported last year with strong single-digit gains.

Hershey predicts growth of 5 to 7% in long-term net sales, and an 8 to 10% growth in long-term adjusted earnings per share. Additionally, the company foresees a 7 to 9% increase in net sales and a 10 to 12% gain in adjusted earnings per share for 2012.

The Hershey Co., headquartered in Hershey, Pa., also manufactures Twizzlers, Kit Kat, and Almond Joy.

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