Hansen Natural earns US$53.4M in Q4, versus loss of US$23.4M a year ago, on lower costs; sales grow by 14% to US$290.9M boosted by advance purchases

CORONA, California , February 25, 2010 () –

Natural soda and energy drunk maker Hansen Natural Corp. on Thursday posted a fourth-quarter profit, reversing a year-ago loss, as sales rose while expenses fell sharply.

For the final three months of 2009, the company earned $53.4 million, or 57 cents per share, reversing a 2008 fourth-quarter loss of $23.4 million, or 25 cents per share.

Net sales rose 14 percent to $290.9 million from $254.4 million in the year-earlier period. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, on average, expected profit of 53 cents per share on sales of $272.3 million.

Sales in the recent quarter got a 4 percent boost from advance purchases made by customers, after the company announced a new per-case marketing program for Monster Energy drink distributors that started Jan. 1. Customers seeking to avoid supply disruptions due to a January change in the planning system Hansen uses added another percent to quarterly sales, Hansen said.

Hansen said operating expenses dropped to $69.4 million from $177.6 million the year earlier. The company booked $20,000 in termination fees related to changing distributors in the 2009 period, while the 2008 expenses included $118.2 million in such fees.

Hansen Chairman and CEO Rodney C. Sacks said since the transition to new distributors in the fourth quarter of 2008, distribution levels and market share for the Monster Energy brand has increased.

For the full year 2009, profit jumped 93 percent to $208.7 million, or $2.21 per share, from $108 million, or $1.11 per share, for 2008.

In aftermarket electronic trading, Hansen shares rose 80 cents, or 2 percent, to $41.21. The stock closed Thursday's regular session up 28 cents at $40.41.

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