General Mills Expects Single Digit Profit Gain in 2014

General Mills Inc., the maker of Cheerios cereal, said profit would rise at a high single-digit percentage rate in fiscal 2014 and reiterated its earnings forecast for this year.

“We see stronger growth in our future,” Chief Executive Officer Ken Powell said in a statement today. Analysts project an increase of 8 percent to $2.90 per share, according to the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

In the fiscal year ending in May 2014, General Mills also plans to return more cash to investors through share repurchasing and dividend growth, Chief Financial Officer Don Mulligan said in the statement. Net sales from international operations are expected to exceed $5 billion in fiscal 2013, General Mills said.

General Mills, the owner of Yoplait yogurt and Pillsbury cookie dough, rose 0.9 percent to $44.99 at 8:19 a.m. in New York. The shares had gained 10 percent this year through Feb. 15, compared to an increase of 6.6 percent for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

The Minneapolis-based company also reiterated its earnings guidance for the fiscal year ending May 26 of $2.65 to $2.67 a share before certain items. Analysts projected $2.68, on average.

General Mills and ConAgra Foods Inc. will be presenting at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York investor conference today.

ConAgra, the maker of Banquet frozen meals and Orville Redenbacher popcorn, forecast earnings per share excluding some items for the fiscal year ending May 31 of $2.15. Analysts projected $2.13, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

ConAgra’s $5 billion purchase of Ralcorp Holdings Inc. will add 5 cents per share to earnings this fiscal year and 25 cents in 2014, the company said. ConAgra completed the acquistion of Ralcorp, which sells cookies and pasta under retailers’ own brands, on Jan. 30.

The shares declined 0.1 percent to $33.73 on Feb. 15. For the year, ConAgra advanced 14 percent.

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