Costs strike General Mills in 3rd quarter, shares drop

General Mills' fiscal third-quarter results were mixed as the company dealt with rising freight and commodity costs. The maker of Cheerios cereal, Yoplait yogurt and other packaged foods also lowered its full-year adjusted earnings outlook.

Shares dropped 8 percent in Wednesday premarket trading.

For the period ended Feb. 25, General Mills Inc. earned $941.4 million, or $1.62 per share. A year earlier the Minneapolis-based company earned $357.8 million, or 61 cents per share.

The company said the current quarter's performance primarily benefited from the recent tax overhaul.

Adjusted for one-time gains and costs, earnings came to 79 cents per share. That met the expectations of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.

"Like the broader industry, we're seeing sharp increases in input costs, including inflation in freight and commodities. Because of our improved volume performance, we're also incurring higher operational costs," Chairman and CEO Jeff Harmening said in a statement.

To help deal with increasing freight costs, General Mills said that it'll boost the number of qualified freight carriers it has and use different modes of transportation.

Revenue climbed to $3.88 billion from $3.79 billion, but the performance was slightly below the $3.89 billion in revenue analysts surveyed by Zacks forecast.

Going forward, General Mills now anticipates fiscal 2018 adjusted earnings per share will be flat to up 1 percent from fiscal 2017's $3.08 per share. Its prior guidance was for a 3 percent to 4 percent increase.


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