Scharf Investments LLC Invests $54.47 Million in Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY)

Scharf Investments LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY) during the third quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the SEC. The fund acquired 498,907 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $54,465,000. Hershey accounts for about 1.3% of Scharf Investments LLC’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 25th biggest holding. Scharf Investments LLC owned approximately 0.24% of Hershey at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other institutional investors also recently modified their holdings of the business. Acadian Asset Management LLC boosted its stake in Hershey by 35.1% in the 2nd quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC now owns 8,470 shares of the company’s stock worth $909,000 after purchasing an additional 2,201 shares in the last quarter. Strs Ohio lifted its stake in Hershey by 9.1% during the 2nd quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 19,956 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,142,000 after acquiring an additional 1,666 shares during the period. NGAM Advisors L.P. bought a new position in Hershey during the 2nd quarter valued at about $1,082,000. CIBC Asset Management Inc lifted its stake in Hershey by 4.3% during the 2nd quarter. CIBC Asset Management Inc now owns 18,793 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,018,000 after acquiring an additional 779 shares during the period. Finally, Bessemer Group Inc. lifted its stake in Hershey by 19.1% during the 2nd quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 2,123 shares of the company’s stock valued at $228,000 after acquiring an additional 341 shares during the period. 51.24% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

In other Hershey news, SVP D Michael Wege sold 1,100 shares of Hershey stock in a transaction dated Monday, October 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $110.26, for a total value of $121,286.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, VP Javier H. Idrovo sold 15,132 shares of Hershey stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, October 11th. The shares were sold at an average price of $110.04, for a total value of $1,665,125.28. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 32,949 shares of company stock worth $3,597,420. Insiders own 0.92% of the company’s stock.

Several brokerages have recently weighed in on HSY. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Hershey from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $128.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Friday. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $122.00 price objective on shares of Hershey in a research note on Friday, December 22nd. Sanford C. Bernstein set a $124.00 target price on shares of Hershey and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, December 19th. Berenberg Bank raised shares of Hershey from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $90.00 target price for the company in a report on Monday, December 18th. Finally, Susquehanna Bancshares set a $113.00 target price on shares of Hershey and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, December 18th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $114.02.

Hershey Co (NYSE:HSY) traded down $0.85 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $113.51. The stock had a trading volume of 416,550 shares, compared to its average volume of 781,370. Hershey Co has a fifty-two week low of $101.61 and a fifty-two week high of $116.49. The company has a market capitalization of $24,091.99, a P/E ratio of 33.78, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 3.11 and a beta of 0.39. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.45, a quick ratio of 0.55 and a current ratio of 0.95.

Hershey (NYSE:HSY) last released its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The company reported $1.33 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.29 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $2.03 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $2.01 billion. Hershey had a return on equity of 124.06% and a net margin of 9.52%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.29 earnings per share. analysts forecast that Hershey Co will post 4.8 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Hershey announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share buyback program on Thursday, October 26th that allows the company to buyback $100.00 million in outstanding shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to reacquire shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are typically a sign that the company’s board believes its shares are undervalued.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, December 15th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, November 22nd were paid a dividend of $0.656 per share. The ex-dividend date was Tuesday, November 21st. This represents a $2.62 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.31%. Hershey’s dividend payout ratio is currently 77.98%.

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About Hershey

The Hershey Company is a producer of chocolate in North America. The Company’s principal product offerings include chocolate and non-chocolate confectionery products; gum and mint refreshment products; pantry items, such as baking ingredients and beverages, and snack items, such as spreads, meat snacks, bars and snack bites and mixes.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Hershey (NYSE:HSY)

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