Why General Mills Is Taking a Hit on Q4 Earnings

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General Mills Inc. (NYSE: GIS) reported its fiscal fourth-quarter financial results before the markets opened on Wednesday. The company said that it had $0.83 in earnings per share (EPS) and $4.16 billion in revenue, which compares with consensus estimates of $0.77 in EPS and $4.24 billion in revenue. The same period of last year reportedly had $0.79 in EPS and $3.89 billion in revenue.

During the quarter, net sales increased 7% (9% in constant currency), driven primarily by the addition of Blue Buffalo. Organic net sales declined 1%, reflecting lower contributions from organic volume. Organic net sales declines in North America Retail and Europe & Australia segments were partially offset by growth in Convenience Stores & Foodservice and Asia & Latin America.

Fourth-quarter net sales for General Mills’ North America Retail segment were down 2% to $2.34 billion. Net sales were in line with last year for the U.S. Cereal, U.S. Yogurt and U.S. Meals & Baking operating units and declined in U.S. Snacks and Canada.

Looking ahead to the fiscal first full year, the company expects to see per-share earnings increase 3% to 5% and organic net sales to increase 1% to 2%. Consensus estimates call for $3.15 in EPS and $16.94 billion in revenue for the fiscal year.

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

I’m pleased to say that we executed well, successfully transitioned Blue Buffalo into our portfolio, and delivered our financial commitments in fiscal 2019. We’ll look to improve our performance again in fiscal 2020, and we have plans in place to accelerate our organic sales growth while maintaining our strong margins and cash discipline.

Shares of General Mills traded down over 8% at $49.27 Wednesday morning, in a 52-week range of $36.42 to $54.39. The consensus price target is $51.63.


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