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Snyder’s-Lance earnings up after a ‘transformative’ year

Snyder’s-Lance said Thursday the past year has been “transformative” for the company, with full-year and quarterly earnings up, thanks in part to cost savings from the sale of its private brands business in the first part of 2014.

The Charlotte-based snack maker reported income of $192.6 million in 2014, or $2.74 per share, compared with $78.7 million, or $1.13 per share, in 2013. The company posted a fourth-quarter profit of $26.3 million, or 30 cents per share after adjusting for one-time gains and costs, missing Wall Street forecasts by 1 cent.

Snyder’s-Lance said profit was bolstered by an after-tax gain from the sale of its private brands business – which makes cookies and crackers under names that are alternatives to national brands – to Ohio-based Shearer’s Foods last year.

“Our industry is going through an exciting time, as it responds to a shift in consumers’ expectations across snacking categories,” said Carl E. Lee, the company’s president and CEO, in a statement. “These consumer changes favor a decisive, nimble and aggressive mid-sized company like ours with the scale to compete.”

The company reported full-year revenue of $1.62 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2013. Fourth-quarter revenue was $439 million, beating analysts surveyed by Zack’s Investment Research who forecast $426.1 million.

Growth, the company said, was also supported by a number of recent acquisitions. Last year Snyder’s Lance purchased Baptista’s Bakery, a Wisconsin-based private-label baked snack manufacturer known for its “better-for-you” snacks. It also increased ownership of Late July Organic Snacks and formed Clearview Foods, a new division dedicated to emerging trends.

Snyder’s-Lance, which makes Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels and Cape Cod chips, employs more than 1,500 in Charlotte. The company has corporate offices in Ballantyne and a manufacturing facility on South Boulevard near Interstate 485.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.