Herbalife raises current-quarter profit forecast

Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:42pm EST

Feb 18 (Reuters) - Herbalife Ltd, the nutrition products company accused by investor William Ackman of being a pyramid scheme, raised its current-quarter adjusted profit forecast as demand for its weight-loss products held up.

The company, whose shares rose about 3 percent in extended trading, said it expected an adjusted profit of $1.25 to $1.29 per share in the first quarter. It had earlier forecast $1.24 to $1.28 per share.

Herbalife, which sells products through a network of independent distributors, also reported an adjusted profit of $1.28 per share for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31.

Analysts on average had expected $1.25 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 20 percent to $1.3 billion, in line with the company's estimate.

Ackman, who has long said he was sticking by his $1 billion bet against Herbalife, has charged that the company found new distributors through a business that had been convicted of running a pyramid scheme in Canada 10 years ago.

Herbalife has vehemently denied that it was operating a pyramid scheme - an unsustainable business that typically makes most of its money by recruiting distributors rather than selling products to real customers.