Hershey Foods doesn't expect its sales to sour

November 16, 1990|By Ross Hetrick | Ross Hetrick,Evening Sun Staff

Even if the economy turns sour, business should remain sweet for Hershey Foods Corp., officials of the giant chocolate company told Baltimore security analysts.

Kenneth L. Wolfe, Hershey's president and chief operating officer, said the company would prefer a "robust economy with low inflation," but the candy and pasta company has fared well pTC during most economic environments. "Confectionary products provide an affordable treat on a dreary day," he told a luncheon meeting of the Baltimore Security Analysts Society.

The analysts were treated to bags of Hershey's Kisses with Almonds, a new addition to the company's large line of candies.

The company, based in Hershey, Pa., is the nation's largest candy company with 35 percent of the supermarket confectionery business. Its stock was a good investment during the last decade, with the price rising from $4.37 1/2 a share in 1980 to $39.62 1/2 a share at the end of September, adjusted for stock splits in 1983 and 1986. It closed at $35.75 yesterday. Dividends have also increased at a compounded rate of 12 percent during the last five years.

In the third quarter, the company had a net income of $56.6 million, or 63 cents a share, an 8.4 percent increase over the 1989 third quarter when the company made $52.2 million, or 58 cents a share.

The company has a pasta division that sells such brands as American Beauty pasta, San Giorgio pasta and Delmonico pasta. Its well-known candy products include Hershey's milk chocolate bar, Reese's peanut butter cups and York peppermint patties.

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