Herbalife profits are below expectations; shares fall after-hours

Record sales can't keep Herbalife's profit from tumbling

Los Angeles nutritional products company Herbalife Ltd. reported record sales of $1.3 billion for the second quarter but profits declined and the stock was down 10% in after-hours trading.

Herbalife said it reported $119.5 million of profit for the quarter, compared with $143.2 million in the second quarter of 2013. The company reported earnings of $1.31 per diluted share, compared with $1.34 last year.

Excluding one-time costs, the company said it earned $1.55 per share, compared with adjusted income of $1.41 last year. Analysts had expected adjusted earnings of $1.57, according to a survey by FactSet.

Still, Herbalife chief Michael O. Johnson was upbeat in a news release.

"Herbalife has once again delivered strong results in sales and profitability while demonstrating our continued ability to enhance our earnings per share," Johnson said. "Our performance is a testament to the enthusiasm our millions of consumers and members have for our products."

Herbalife has been one of the most closely watched stocks on Wall Street since December 2012, when hedge fund manager Bill Ackman accused the company of operating an illegal pyramid scheme that victimizes its mostly poor and Latino network of independent sales people.

Ackman maintains that the vast majority of Herbalife distributors make little or no money while a fortunate few at the top of the pyramid earn six- and seven-figure incomes as a reward for recruiting so many people into the business. He said he shorted the company's stock by more than $1 billion, a move that would allow him to profit if its shares fell.

The Federal Trade Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, FBI and two state attorneys general have opened investigations into Ackman's claims, but none of them have taken action against the company. 

Last week, Herbalife's stock plummeted 11% after Ackman said he intended to release new, explosive allegations about the company. But it soared 25% the following day as investors shrugged at Ackman's allegations.

Twitter: @spfeifer22


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