Herbalife profit rises 10% on boost in China sales; outlook raised

Herbalife Ltd., the nutrition company that hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has accused of being a pyramid scheme, said fourth-quarter profit rose 10% and boosted its forecast as sales gained in China.

Net income increased to $123.5 million, or $1.15 a share, from $112.2 million, or $1, a year earlier, the Los Angeles company said Tuesday. Excluding some items, profit was $1.28 a share, matching the average estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Chief Executive Michael Johnson, who this month rewarded shareholders by boosting Herbalife's buyback, is working to expand sales of vitamins, skin creams and meal-replacement shakes while fending off Ackman's accusations. Revenue rose 20% to $1.27 billion, helped by sales more than doubling in China.

Adjusted profit per share in the current year will be $5.85 to $6.05, reflecting the buyback, up from a previous forecast of $5.45 to $5.65, Herbalife said. Analysts estimated $5.85, on average.

Herbalife shares rose 4.2% to $71.82 after the release of earnings. The shares had dropped 12% this year through the close of regular trading Tuesday, compared with a 0.4% decline for the Standard & Poor's 500 Index.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad