Herbalife Ltd., a maker of nutritional and weight-loss supplements, said Tuesday that its profit dropped 38 percent in the fourth quarter as sales declined and administrative expenses rose.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2008, earnings fell to $33.7 million, or 53 cents per share, from $53.8 million, or 77 cents per share, a year ago.
In December, the company said it would cut 6 percent of its total work force and restructure its business to help cope with the economic downturn. Excluding restructuring costs and other one-time items, earnings totaled $43.4 million, or 69 cents per share, in the latest period.
Quarterly sales fell 11 percent to $512.9 million from $578.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2007, due in part to the stronger dollar's negative effect on overseas sales. Selling, general and administrative expenses also rose during the quarter — gaining 8 percent to $187.6 million.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, who generally exclude one-time items, forecast earnings of 69 per share on higher revenue of about $543 million.
"While 2008 was a record year for many of our financial metrics including net sales, operating profit and earnings per share, due to a combination of factors including the weakening global economy, volatile foreign currency markets and softer volume trends in certain key markets during the fourth quarter, we ended the year on a soft note," said Chairman and Chief Executive Michael Johnson in a statement.
For the full fiscal year, earnings gained 16 percent to $221.2 million, or $3.36 per share, from $191.5 million, or $2.63 per share, in the prior year. Excluding one-time items, adjusted profit totaled $232.1 million, or $3.53 per share.
Full-year sales rose 10 percent to $2.36 billion, from $2.15 billion in 2007.
Analysts had forecast earnings of $3.54 per share on revenue of $2.39 billion, on average.
Herbalife also lowered its 2009 earnings outlook on Tuesday, citing softer-than-expected fourth-quarter trends, a more cautious volume outlook and current foreign currency rates.
Herbalife shares gained 20 cents to close earlier at $18.33, but fell $1.42, or nearly 8 percent, to $16.91 in aftermarket electronic trading after the quarterly report was released.