General Mills to cut about 850 jobs globally; restructuring moves set

MINNEAPOLIS, Tue May 22, 2012 – General Mills Inc. will cut about 850 jobs, or 2.4 percent of its workforce, and take other restructuring measures to support growth, the company said on Tuesday.

The company, which has been facing higher costs of raw materials, will record total restructuring charges of about $109 million pretax, including about $94 million in the fourth quarter ending on May 27.

The remaining costs will be recorded in fiscal 2013, General Mills said.

The maker of Progresso soups, Cheerios cereal and Green Giant vegetables said the job cuts would occur across the company and would largely affect administrative and support positions.

General Mills said in March that third-quarter net income had fallen to $391.5 million, or 58 cents per share, from $392.1 million, or 59 cents per share, a year earlier.

On Tuesday, General Mills said it was backing its earlier forecast of earnings between $2.53 and $2.55 a share for the year.

The company’s shares were down 1 cent at $38.54 on the New York Stock Exchange.

General Mills profit dips as commodity costs rise

MINNEAPOLIS, Wed Mar 21, 2012 – General Mills Inc. posted a quarterly profit in line with Wall Street expectations and stood by its lowered full-year forecast as it faces higher costs for raw materials.

“Fiscal 2012 has represented a challenging operating environment, with the highest level of commodity inflation that we’ve seen in 30 years,” CEO Ken Powell said in a statement on Wednesday.

Shares of General Mills were down 0.7 percent at $38.50 in trading before the market opened.

Powell said sales momentum in the current fourth quarter would somewhat ease the gross margin declines that hurt results in the third quarter, which ended on Feb. 26.

The maker of Progresso soups, Cheerios cereal and Green Giant frozen vegetables said third-quarter net income had fallen to $391.5 million, or 58 cents per share, from $392.1 million, or 59 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, earnings were 55 cents per share.

Analysts on average had been expecting 55 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, after General Mills forecast a range of 54 cents to 56 cents in February.

At the time, the company cut its full-year outlook to a range of $2.53 to $2.55 per share from a prior forecast of $2.59 to $2.61, citing weak sales.

On Wednesday, the company stood by that full-year forecast.

Third-quarter net sales jumped 13 percent to $4.12 billion, helped by price increases and last year’s acquisition of a controlling stake in the Yoplait yogurt brand. Excluding the acquisition, sales volume would have fallen, as some consumers were turned off by the price increases.

General Mills buys small maker of tortilla chips

MINNEAPOLIS – March 1: Food company General Mills Inc. pushed further into the U.S. snack food market by acquiring chip maker Food Should Taste Good.

General Mills already competes in the salty snack market with its brands Chex Mix, Gardettos and Bugles.

The acquisition of Food Should Taste Good — which makes sweet potato chips and tortilla chips in flavors like lime, olive and jalapeno — puts General Mills into the natural and organic segment of that market.

Terms of the deal, which closed on Wednesday, were not disclosed.

The transaction also puts General Mills into more direct competition with the likes of PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay, Diamond Foods Inc, which owns Kettle chips, and Kellogg, which will soon own Pringles.

General Mills, whose other brands include Cheerios cereal, Nature Valley granola bars and Betty Crocker cake mixes, already competes fiercely with Kellogg, which makes Corn Flakes cereal and Kashi bars.

General Mills cut its 2012 outlook earlier this month, citing weak sales volume.

General Mills better-than-expected quarterly profit beats, affirms 2012 view

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. ― General Mills Inc. reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday, as price increases helped it contend with the much higher ingredient and fuel costs that ate into its margins.

The maker of Cheerios cereal and Progresso soups said its first quarter net sales rose 8.9 percent to $3.85 billion, helped by its recently acquired Yoplait yogurt business and consumers’ willingness to accept higher prices.

In a statement, Chief Executive Ken Powell said the sales gains reflected “resilient consumer demand.”

Some of the U.S. segments that enjoyed the largest sales gains were its snacks, which include Nature Valley bars and rose 17 percent. In contrast, sales in its meals unit, which includes canned soups and dinner mixes, fell 4 percent. Its U.S. business accounts for nearly two-thirds of sales.

The international Yoplait unit accounted for about one-third of General Mills’ sales growth, helping it beat the $3.81 billion in net sales Wall Street was expecting, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales overseas rose 30 percent, thanks largely to Yoplait, while sales in its bakeries and foodservice unit rose 13 percent.

General Mills reported net income of $405.6 million, or 61 cents per share, in the fiscal first quarter, which ended on Aug. 28, compared with $472.1 million, or 70 cents per share, a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings for the quarter came to 64 cents a share, beating the 62 cents a share expected by analysts.

The company affirmed its full-year outlook, saying it expects fiscal 2012 earnings of $2.59 to $2.61 per share, excluding the costs of integrating Yoplait.

General Mills, whose other brands include Pillsbury, Green Giant and Old El Paso, said in June that it expected full-year sales volume to be lower than a year earlier, with mid-single-digit revenue growth helped by price increases.

General Mills also said at the time it expected costs to rise 10 percent to 11 percent in the 2012 fiscal year, which began May 30, more than double the inflation rate it had forecast for the previous year.