Hershey Seeks $1 Billion in Sales From Takeovers

Hershey Co. Chief Executive Officer John P. Bilbrey said he may need to generate $1 billion in annual revenue from acquisitions to reach his goal of $10 billion in sales within five years.

“Our current strategic plan actually gets us somewhere above $9 billion,” Bilbrey said today in a telephone interview. “In that model, you would need to add about $1 billion in M&A growth.”

Bilbrey plans to reach $10 billion in revenue by the end of 2017. He looks to surpass Mars Inc. to become the largest confectionery maker in North America, while increasing international sales an average of 20 percent a year. Hershey, based in the Pennsylvania community of the same name, had sales of $6.1 billion last year.

Hershey is looking to build distribution in emerging economies such as China, Brazil, India and Southeast Asia, where it can sell chocolate, mints and candy to growing middle-class populations. The company has said there is $30 billion of potential acquisitions in the highly fragmented global confection and snack market.

Hershey rose 1.2 percent to $71.18 at 11:25 a.m. in New York. The shares climbed 14 percent this year through yesterday.

The company reported second-quarter profit excluding some items of 66 cents a share today, surpassing the 61-cent average of 10 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

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