March 20, 2019 / 11:37 AM / 5 months ago

General Mills lifts profit view on cost cuts, price hikes; shares rise 6 percent

FILE PHOTO: General Mills breakfast cereal is shown for sale in Carlsbad, California, U.S., June 27, 2017. REUTERS/ Mike Blake

(Reuters) - General Mills quarterly profit beat Wall Street estimates and the Cheerios cereal maker raised its full-year forecast, benefiting from its efforts to cut costs and raise prices, sending its shares up 6 percent on Wednesday.

Consumer goods companies like General Mills have been raising product prices to make up for rising commodities and transportation costs.

“Our year-to-date performance and fourth-quarter plans give us confidence that we will meet or exceed all of our key fiscal 2019 targets,” Chief Executive Officer Jeff Harmening said in a statement.

The company’s adjusted gross margin rose 170 basis points to 34.2 percent in the third quarter and beat the analyst average estimate of 32.89 percent.

General Mills, which owns dessert pre-mix brand Betty Crocker and Nature Valley granola bars, said it expects adjusted profit for fiscal 2019 to be between flat and 1 percent from a prior forecast range of flat to down 3 percent.

The company’s net sales rose 8 percent to $4.20 billion in the third quarter, largely in line with expectations of $4.19 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 83 cents per for the quarter ended Feb.24 to beat expectations of 69 cents.

Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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