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Hershey could lay off up to 15 percent of workforce

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HERSHEY, Pa. - Hershey Co. (HSY) could cut 15 percent of its global hourly workforce, primarily outside the United States.

The Pennsylvania-based company says chief executive Michele Buck will have more to say on the plan when she briefs analysts in New York on Wednesday.

In a statement on Tuesday, the marketer of Hershey chocolate bars and other candies said the layoffs are part of a program designed to improve the operating profit margin through a streamlined operating model and reduced administrative expenses.

“Our objective is to ensure that we always have the right level of innovation, marketing plans and consumer and customer expertise to drive net sales growth, especially in our North America confectionery and snacks business,” Buck said in a statement.

Hershey expects the restructuring moves to help it reach adjusted operating profit margins of at least 22 percent by the end of 2019. For 2017 it forecasts diluted earnings per share of $3.19 to $3.45. Hershey shares have risen 4.8 percent this year to $108.35.

Hershey operates eight factories outside the U.S. As of December, the company had 16,300 full time and 1,680 part-time employees worldwide.

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