General Mills Tops Earnings And Sales Estimates

By Ciara Linnane Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Food company General Mills said Wednesday it had net income of $408.9 million, or 69 cents a share, in its fiscal fourth quarter to May 28, up from $379.6 million, or 62 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Adjusted per-share earnings came to 73 cents, ahead of the FactSet consensus of 71 cents. Sales fell to $3.806 billion from $3.928 billion, but were also ahead of the FactSet consensus of $3.745 billion. Chief Executive Jeff Harmening said organic sales improved at three of the company's four operating segments in the three-month period. However, "while we took important steps in fiscal 2017 to globalize our business structure, accelerate our cost-savings efforts, expand our margins, and drive growth in adjusted diluted EPS, our results on the topline fell well short of our standards. Our entire organization is moving with urgency in fiscal 2018 to meaningfully improve our net sales trends while keeping a sharp eye on our efficiency." The company is now expecting organic sales to fall 1% to 2% in fiscal 2018. EPS measured on a constant-currency basis is expected to rise 1% to 2% from the $3.08 earned in fiscal 2017. The company said it is raising its quarterly dividend by 2% to 49 cents a share. The new dividend is payable Aug. 1 to shareholders of record as of July 10. Shares rose 1.3% premarket, but are down 10% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 8%.

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