General Mills Gets Crushed by Q3 Results, Guidance

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General Mills Inc. (NYSE: GIS) watched its shares hit a new multiyear low after its fiscal third-quarter earnings report. The company said that it had $0.79 in earnings per share (EPS) on $3.88 billion in revenue, which compares with consensus estimates from Thomson Reuters of $0.78 in EPS on revenue of $3.78 billion. The same period of last year reportedly had EPS of $0.72 and $3.78 billion in revenue.

Third-quarter net sales for the company’s North America Retail segment totaled $2.52 billion, up 1% from the prior year. Net sales increased 6% in the Canada operating unit, 3% in U.S. Snacks and 2% in U.S. Meals & Baking, and net sales were down 8% in U.S. Yogurt and 1% in U.S. Cereal. Organic net sales increased 1% in the quarter.

In terms of the outlook for the 2018 fiscal full year, the company now expects to see EPS flat to up 1% from the base of $4.08 billion in revenue. The consensus estimates call for $3.17 in EPS on $15.71 billion in revenue for the year.

On the books, General Mills cash and cash equivalents totaled $953.1 million at the end of the quarter, up from $899.1 million in the same period of last year.

Jeff Harmening, General Mills chief executive and board chair, commented:

Our primary goal this year has been to strengthen our topline performance while maintaining our efficiency. While I’m pleased that we’re delivering on the first part of that goal, with strong consumer marketing, innovation, and in-store execution leading to a second consecutive quarter of organic net sales growth, I’m disappointed in our results on the bottom line. Our third-quarter operating profit fell well short of our expectations, and cost pressures are impacting our full-year outlook. 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.

Shares of General Mills were last seen down over 9% at $45.33, with a consensus analyst price target of $57.28 and a 52-week trading range of $44.79 to $60.69.

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