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Hershey Prices Senior Notes

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The Hershey Company (HSY - Free Report) recently announced the pricing of senior notes worth $250 million due 2023. The notes carry an interest rate of 2.625%. Hershey intends to use the net proceeds to meet general corporate expenses.

Hershey reported cash and cash equivalents of $730.1 million as of March 31, 2013. The present issuance of senior notes will further increase its liquidity strength.

Hershey invests in core brand marketing and conducts advertising and promotional campaigns to stimulate sales of its products. The company intends to make further investment in brand building in 2013.

As a result, advertising expenses (as a percentage of revenues) are expected to increase 20% year over year in fiscal 2013, mainly to support the Brookside product launch, new product launches in both the U.S. and international markets and accelerated advertising investments in key international markets.

Specifically, the company will increase promotional efforts for the Hershey’s brand in China and Hershey's Mais in Brazil. The increased liquidity strength will help the company execute its brand building plans in the upcoming quarters.

As a result, during its first quarter 2013 earnings release on Apr 25, Hershey once again raised its full-year 2013 earnings guidance as it expects to gain from increased marketing investments in new products and international markets, lower input costs and other cost savings despite a challenging macroeconomic environment. The company now expects earnings in the range of $3.61–$3.65 per share up from the prior expectation of $3.56–$3.63 per share.

Hershey carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Hershey’s strong brand positioning, strategic marketing investments in core brands, disciplined innovation, and consumer capabilities make it attractive.

Some consumer staples companies that are currently doing well and have a bright outlook include Flower Foods Inc. (FLO - Free Report) carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and J&J Snack Foods Corp. (JJSF - Free Report) and The Coca Cola Company (KO - Free Report) carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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