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General Mills quarterly profit tops estimates

General Mills breakfast cereal boxes are arranged for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

General Mills breakfast cereal boxes are arranged for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois.

Cheerios cereal maker General Mills on Wednesday reported a quarterly profit that topped analysts’ estimates, as its efforts to reduce costs and improve its distribution network paid off.

Gross margins of the company, which is also known for its Haagen-Dazs and Betty Crocker brands, rose to 36.5 percent in the fourth quarter from 34.7 percent a year earlier.

General Mills said it expects organic net sales to be in the range of flat to up 1 percent. Including the impact of it acquisition of pet food snacks maker Blue Buffalo, net sales are expected to rise 9 percent to 10 percent from a year earlier.

To counter slowing sales growth in the packaged foods industry, General Mills bought pet snacks maker Blue Buffalo Pet Products for nearly $8 billion earlier this year.

Net earnings attributable to the company fell to $354.4 million, or 59 cents per share, in the three months ended May 27 from $408.9 million, or 69 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding certain items, General Mills earned 79 cents per share. Analysts were expecting earnings of 72 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net sales rose 2 percent to $3.89 billion, in line with analysts estimate.

Shares of the company were up 1.17 percent in premarket trading.


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