Kellogg cuts full-year outlook; first quarter report disappointing

BATTLE CREEK, Mich., Mon Apr 23, 2012 – Kellogg Co. cut its full-year outlook on Monday, citing a weaker-than-expected first-quarter performance, and its shares fell 6.3 percent.

The world’s largest cereal company said net sales fell 1.3 percent in the quarter, with earnings of $1 per share.

Excluding a 5 cent-per-share benefit from hedging activities, Kellogg’s profit was 95 cents per share. Analysts on average were expecting 99 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Kellogg, which makes Corn Flakes cereal, Cheez-It crackers and Eggo frozen waffles, said it now expected full-year net sales to rise 2 percent to 3 percent, with operating profit falling 2 percent to 4 percent.

It expects reported earnings to range from $3.18 to $3.30 per share.

“We are obviously disappointed with the performance of the company in the first quarter of 2012,” Kellogg Chief Executive John Bryant said in a statement. “We faced more significant challenges in both Europe and in some categories in the U.S. than we expected.”

The company said it also wanted to continue to invest for future growth.

Kellogg shares fell to $50.57 in premarket trading from their close on Friday at $53.99.