(By Balachander) General Mills Inc. (NYSE:GIS
) reported higher quarterly profit and sales, and the maker of branded consumer foods reaffirmed fiscal 2013 forecast. Earnings topped market, expectations, while sales missed consensus.
On an adjusted basis, the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company earned 66 cents a share, compared with 64 cents in the same period of last year. Earnings per share (EPS) jumped 34.4 percent to 82 cents due to 7-cent benefit from mark-to-market valuation of certain commodity positions and a 10-cent net benefit related to a discrete tax item.
The company, whose markets brands include Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Fiber One and Cheerios, said net sales increased 5 percent to $4.05 billion.
Wall Street analysts, on average, expected EPS of 63 cents on sales growth of 6.20 percent for the first quarter.
Gross margin on an adjusted basis contracted 40 basis points to 38.2 percent. Gross margin as reported expanded 260 basis points to 40.2 percent.
Looking ahead for fiscal 2013, General Mills continues to forecast adjusted EPS of about $2.65, while analysts expect $2.66 per share.
For the fourth quarter ended May, the company's adjusted earnings increased to 60 cents from 52 cents. Net earnings rose 1.6 percent and net sales grew 12 percent to $4.06 billion.
GIS shares, which have been trading in the 52-week range between $36.75 and $41.06, ended Tuesday's regular trading at $39.31.