General Mills earnings, sales edge up

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 24th March 2011

General Mills yesterday booked a 1% increase in year-to-date earnings and sales and insisted that it expects growth to accelerate in the final quarter of the year.For the first nine months of fiscal 2011, General Mills said net sales increased to US$11.24bn, with a 2% rise in volumes slightly offset by a 1% dip in price realisation and mix. Foreign exchange had “no material effect” on sales, the company added.

Segment operating profit totalled $2.27bn, also up 1% on last year’s levels, which had increased 14%.

General Mills said that, while the group’s year-to-date comparison was up against very strong gains last year, it has witnessed an acceleration in sales during the third quarter. Sales during the three months to end-February were up 2%, the group said, while segment operating profit jumped 10% year-on-year.

“Results for the third quarter showed an acceleration in sales and profit growth following first-half performance that tracked generally in-line with strong prior-year levels,” chairman and CEO Ken Powell said.

Powell remained upbeat on the company’s outlook for the full year, insisting that General Mills anticipates the fourth quarter to book the highest gains of the year. “Our plans call for the fourth quarter to show the highest earnings growth of the year, with increasing contributions from pricing actions we have taken to partially offset significant commodity cost increases. We remain on track to achieve our financial targets for the full 2011 fiscal year,” he said.

The General Mills chief also looked ahead to the next fiscal year and warned that “supply chain inflation” would be higher than the 4-5% growth that the company has estimated for the current financial year.
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