General Mills profit beats as cost cutting pays off
(Reuters) - General Mills Inc (GIS.N: Quote), the maker of Cheerios cereal and Yoplait yogurt, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as cost-cutting programs helped reduce the impact of weaker sales in the United States.
General Mills said lower volume sales reduced sales growth by 8 percentage points in its U.S. business in the quarter ended Feb. 28. The company gets about 60 percent of its sales from the United States.
Minneapolis-based General Mills has responded to weak U.S. sales by cutting jobs and selling plants and exiting less-profitable brands, while investing in gluten-free foods and cutting back on salt and artificial ingredients in its products.
Net income attributable to General Mills rose to $361.7 million, or 59 cents per share, in the third quarter, from $343.2 million, or 56 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 65 cents per share.
The company's net sales fell 8 percent to $4 billion, falling for the third quarter in a row.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of 62 cents per share on revenue of $4.08 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
General Mills also said it expects to incur a pretax non-cash charge of about $35 million in the fourth quarter related to the sale of its Venezuela unit. Continued...