Herbalife Ltd. (HLF—NYSE) boosted its guidance for the year in its latest earnings report, released late Wednesday and watched closely by investors following the nutrition company’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.
Results exceeded Wall Street estimates for the quarter ended June 30, just weeks before Herbalife announced a settlement with the FTC. The long-awaited deal concluded a U.S. probe into the company’s business practices that had stretched on for more than two years, following accusations by hedge fund manager Bill Ackman that Herbalife rewards distributors for recruiting new members rather than sales of its shakes and supplements. Ackman has backed his claims with large bets against the company’s stock.
In its complaint, the commission did not accuse Herbalife of being a pyramid scheme, and the company is able to continue its U.S. operations, with some new restrictions. Herbalife agreed to pay a $200 million judgment and implement various policy and procedural changes, including distinguishing between those who sign up to sell products and those who only wish to purchase products at a discount.
Additionally, to compensate distributors at current levels, at least 80 percent of Herbalife’s product sales must be to legitimate end-users, rather than for the distributor’s personal consumption.
Taking into account the impact of these changes, management expects full-year adjusted earnings of $4.50 to $4.80 a share, up from May guidance of $4.40 to $4.75.
The company recorded a second-quarter loss of $22.9 million, or 28 cents a share, including a $203 million charge related to regulatory settlements. Excluding items, earnings were $1.29 a share, up 4 percent from a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had predicted $1.21 a share.
Overall sales rose 3 percent to $1.20 billion, in line with the $1.19 billion expected by analysts.
The company is developing new tools and apps to help distributors implement agreed-to changes within the 10 months provided by the FTC. During a call with investors, Chairman and CEO Michael Johnson said Herbalife will “likely roll out” many of the changes globally, once it has studied affects in the U.S.