Herbalife Ltd. reported a 65 percent increase in fourth quarter net income that exceeded analyst estimates. The numbers were driven by strong demand for its diet shakes and nutritional supplements in the Asia-Pacific and North America regions.

The Los Angeles manufacturer and distributor late Tuesday reported net income of $55.7 million (88 cents per share), compared with $33.7 million (53 cents) a year earlier. Net sales rose 23 percent to nearly $631 million. Sales volume jumped more than 34 percent in its Asia-Pacific markets and nearly 13 percent in North America.

Excluding foreign currency fluctuations and miscellaneous charges, adjusted net income was $61.7 million (98 cents). Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected the company to report adjusted per-share profit of 91 cents on revenue of revenues of more than $596 million.

“Our distributors’ adoption of the daily-consumption method of doing business creates deeper reach into existing markets and is fueling the growth of the company,” Chief Executive Michael O. Johnson said in a press release. The “daily consumption method” refers to a technique pioneered by its Mexican distributors of organizing “clubs” where customers stop by every day for a diet shake and socializing.

The company was more cautious about 2010. It expects first quarter earnings per share in the range of 77 to 80 cents, with net sales growth of about 13 percent. Analysts on average expect per-share earnings 86 cents.

Shares were up 74 cents, or 2 percent, to $38.99 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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