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Published September 19, 2012, 08:47 AM

General Mills profit climbs on acquisitions

NEW YORK (AP) — General Mills Inc. said Wednesday that its fiscal first-quarter profit rose 35 percent as acquisitions lifted sales.

NEW YORK (AP) — General Mills Inc. said Wednesday that its fiscal first-quarter profit rose 35 percent as acquisitions lifted sales.

The Minneapolis-based maker of brands including Cheerios, Betty Crocker and Hamburger Helper stood by its 2013 earnings outlook of $2.65 per share, not including one-time items.

The results in the latest quarter were boosted by the company's purchase of a controlling stake in Yoplait International in July 2011, as well as Food Should Taste Good, a natural snack foods company, earlier this year.

For the three months ended Aug. 26, the company said it earned $549 million, or 82 cents per share. That compares with $405.6 million, or 61 cents per share, a year ago.

Not including one-time items, the company said it earned 66 cents per share. Analysts expected a profit of 62 cents per share.

Revenue climbed 5 percent to $4.05 billion. International sales rose 27 percent to $1.09 billion, driven by growth from acquisitions.

In the U.S., however, the company said net sales declined 1 percent to $2.49 billion as price hikes failed to offset lower volumes. Although the snack food division saw revenue gains, revenue declined for Big G cereal, frozen foods and Yoplait.

General Mills noted that it introduced more than 100 new products during the period, including extensions of its Chex, Nature Valley and Fiber One brands.

During the second quarter, CEO Ken Powell said the company plans to put its "full advertising support" behind the new items.

Shares of General Mills rose 22 cents to $39.53 in pre-market trading.

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