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General Mills 3Q Tops Street, Cautions On 4Q

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — General Mills’ fiscal third-quarter net income rose 2 percent, as the food company continued to benefit from acquisitions.

The quarterly performance topped Wall Street’s expectations.

General Mills Inc., whose brands include Cheerios and Betty Crocker, also lifted its full-year adjusted earnings forecast on Wednesday, but cautioned that its fourth-quarter performance would be hurt by higher costs and increased spending for in-store merchandising.

Shares fell slightly in premarket trading.

The Minneapolis company earned $398.4 million, or 60 cents per share, for the period ended Feb. 24. A year earlier it earned $391.5 million, or 58 cents per share.

Stripping out restructuring costs, acquisition-related costs and other items, earnings were 64 cents per share.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 57 cents per share.

Revenue climbed 8 percent to $4.43 billion from $4.12 billion, beating Wall Street’s estimate of $4.36 billion.

General Mills said that new businesses, including Yoplait Canada and Brazilian food company Yoki Alimentos, gave a boost to its quarterly revenue.

The company said some of its strongest sellers in U.S. retail locations included new items such as Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch cereal, Fiber One Protein bars, Yoplait Greek 100 yogurt and frozen Green Giant Seasoned Steamers vegetables.

Some older brands also did well, including Cheerios and Lucky Charms cereals, Progresso ready-to-serve soups, Nature Valley grain snack bars, Totino’s frozen snacks and pizzas, Betty Crocker SuperMoist cake and pouch cookie mixes and Pillsbury Grands! refrigerated biscuits.

The bakeries and foodservice unit reported strong sales of the Yoplait Parfait Pro yogurt line, Pillsbury hot breakfast items, and new Minibon cinnamon rolls. Overseas, sales were helped by contributions from Yoplait yogurt varieties in Europe and Haagen Dazs super-premium ice cream and Wanchai Ferry frozen dim sum varieties in China.

General Mills said that it expects its fourth-quarter adjusted earnings will be below the prior-year period’s 60 cents per share. The company now foresees fiscal 2013 adjusted earnings between $2.66 and $2.68 per share, up from $2.65 to $2.67 per share.

Analysts predict fourth-quarter earnings of 59 cents per share and full-year earnings of $2.68 per share.

General Mills said that it expects a high single-digit percentage increase in fiscal 2014 earnings per share.

The company’s stock shed 12 cents to $46.30 before the market open.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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