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GENERAL MILLS EPS UP 16 PERCENT, EXCLUDING UNUSUAL ITEMS

 GENERAL MILLS EPS UP 16 PERCENT, EXCLUDING UNUSUAL ITEMS
 MINNEAPOLIS, March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- General Mills (NYSE: GIS)


today reported a 16 percent increase in earnings per share for the third quarter of fiscal 1992. These results are before unusual items relating to gains from the sales of businesses and miscellaneous restructuring actions that totaled a net 1-cent charge in this year's third quarter and a net 10-cent gain last year.
 For the 13 weeks ended February 23, 1992, General Mills earned 81 cents per share before unusual items, up from 70 cents per share earned in last year's third quarter. After-tax earnings rose 18 percent to $134.0 million. Through nine months, earnings per share before unusual items were $2.43, up 15 percent from the $2.11 earned a year ago. Excluding revenues of disposed operations (Lancia Bravo pasta, O-Cel-O sponges, PYCASA frozen prepared meals, hot cereals) sales grew 9 percent in the quarter and 11 percent through nine months. This is well above the growth rates for the markets in which the company competes.
 General Mills Chairman Bruce Atwater said the record third-quarter results reflect a 24 percent profit gain by Restaurants and 9 percent profit growth by Consumer Foods, along with excellent expense control throughout the company. With the outlook for the company's key businesses promising, Atwater said General Mills "expects 1992 to be another year of record sales, earnings and earnings per share." OPERATING HIGHLIGHTS
 Restaurants reported 24 percent growth in third-quarter operating profits, following a 2 percent gain in the second quarter and an 11 percent decline in the first quarter. Restaurant sales grew 13 percent in the third quarter, primarily the result of unit expansion. The Olive Garden continued to post profit results well ahead of the prior year's. Red Lobster recorded strong profit growth versus last year's third quarter, and showed continued improvement in check averages and margins as compared with the first half of this year. Results of Canadian restaurant operations continued below targeted levels, attributable to the weak economic climate there.
 Through 39 weeks, restaurant sales and operating profits grew 14 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Red Lobster and The Olive Garden opened 44 new units in the third quarter, for a total of 87 new openings this year to date. At the end of the third quarter, 927 Red Lobster and The Olive Garden units were open in North America. 35 openings are planned in the fourth quarter, for a total of 122 restaurants added in 1992. This will surpass the record 111 new units opened in 1991. Red Lobster also plans to remodel 143 units in 1992 compared to 51 units remodeled in 1991.
 Consumer Foods reported third-quarter gains in sales and operating profits of 7 percent and 9 percent, respectively, excluding unusual items. Domestic retail packaged food unit volume increased 5 percent in the quarter, with every major business making a contribution. Through nine months, food unit volume grew 8 percent.
 Big G cereals paced third-quarter performance with a more than 14 percent unit volume gain led by newly introduced Multi Grain Cheerios and Wheaties Honey Gold, which completed national expansion. Big G's established brands also showed excellent unit volume growth, led by the three established Cheerios cereals. Big G's dollar share of the $7.8 billion retail cereal market continued to grow, exceeding 29 percent for both the quarter and the most recent 52 weeks. Through nine months, Big G cereal unit volume grew 10 percent, Foodservice cereal volume increased 17 percent and Canadian cereal volume grew 12 percent. CPW recorded volume and share growth in its initial European markets and entered Italy during the quarter. Third-quarter development costs associated with CPW totaled nearly 3 cents per share, moderately greater than the prior-year's figure.
 Through nine months, Consumer Foods sales and operating profits increased 10 percent and 15 percent, respectively, before unusual items. Leading contributors to the cumulative sales and earnings gains were Big G cereals and Betty Crocker Products, the latter of which posted 13 percent cumulative volume growth.
 General Mills' nine-month results include a 16-cents per share net gain from unusual items in 1991. Again, this gain resulted primarily from the sales of businesses, partially offset by various restructuring actions. Nine-month earnings per share including unusual items were $2.43 in 1992 and $2.27 in 1991.
 Unallocated corporate expenses (including interest expense) declined in the third quarter, primarily due to a $6.0 million gain ($1.2 million aftertax) from the early termination of a tax lease transaction. Interest expense was $3 million less than in the prior-year period, primarily reflecting lower short-term interest rates and the availability of $125 million net proceeds from divested operations that lessened borrowing needs.
 GENERAL MILLS, INC.
 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS
 (Unaudited) (In Millions, Except per Share Data)
 13 Weeks Ended 39 Weeks Ended
 2/23/92 2/24/91 2/23/92 2/24/91
 Continuing Operations:
 Sales $1,868.3 $1,747.6 $5,777.3 $5,323.9
 Costs and Expenses:
 Cost of sales 983.4 877.1 3,030.9 2,750.8
 Selling, general and
 administrative 589.6 585.3 1,848.7 1,750.2
 Depreciation and
 amortization 63.1 55.3 180.6 159.5
 Interest, net 12.6 15.6 40.9 44.5
 Total Costs and Expenses 1,648.7 1,533.3 5,101.1 4,705.0
 Earnings from Continuing Operations
 before Taxes 219.6 214.3 676.2 618.9
 Income Taxes 87.5 83.0 273.7 245.6
 Earnings from Continuing
 Operations 132.1 131.3 402.5 373.3
 Discontinued Operations
 after Taxes -- 2.8 -- 8.5
 Net Earnings $132.1 $134.1 $402.5 $381.8
 Earnings per Share:
 Continuing operations $.80 $.80 $2.43 $2.27
 Discontinued operations -- .01 -- .05
 Net Earnings per Share $.80 $.81 $2.43 $2.32
 Dividends per Share .37 .32 1.11 .96
 Average Number of Common
 Shares 166.0 164.7 165.6 164.3
 ANALYSIS OF SALES, EARNINGS AND EARNINGS PER SHARE
 (Amounts in Millions, Except per Share Data)
 13 Weeks Ended 39 Weeks Ended
 2/23/92 2/24/91 2/23/92 2/24/91
 Sales $1,868.3 $1,747.6 $5,777.3 $5,323.9
 Sales of Disposed Operations -- 31.7 19.0 147.4
 Sales Excluding Disposed
 Operations $1,868.3 $1,715.9 $5,758.3 $5,176.5
 Net Earnings $132.1 $134.1 $402.5 $381.8
 Discontinued Operations (3) -- (2.8) -- (8.5)
 Earnings from Continuing
 Operations 132.1 131.3 402.5 373.3
 Unusual charges (gains)
 included in continuing
 operations (1)(2) 1.9 (17.3) -- (26.5)
 Earnings from Continuing Operations
 Excluding Unusual Items $134.0 $114.0 $402.5 $346.8
 Net Earnings per Share $.80 $.81 $2.43 $2.32
 Discontinued Operations
 per Share(3) -- (.01) -- (.05)
 Earnings per Share from
 Continuing Operations .80 .80 2.43 2.27
 Unusual charges (gains) per share
 included in continuing
 operations (1)(2) .01 (.10) -- (.16)
 Earnings per Share from Continuing
 Operations Excluding Unusual
 Items $.81 $.70 $2.43 $2.11
 (1) Fiscal 1992 third quarter results include a net charge of $3.0 million pretax and $1.9 million after-tax ($.01 per share) from the restructuring of our Consumer Foods national sales organization and adjustment of previously established reserves. Fiscal 1991 third quarter results include a net gain of $28.7 million pretax and $17.3 million after-tax ($.10 per share) from the sale of our O-Cel-O sponge operation and restructuring charges primarily for hot oatmeal cereal operations.
 (2) Fiscal 1992 cumulative results include a net gain of $11.2 million pretax and no after-tax effect including the sale of PYCASA, our Spanish frozen food subsidiary and restructuring charges for our Betty Crocker packaged mixes production and European food operations, and the call of our 9 3/8 percent debt in the second quarter. Fiscal 1991 cumulative results include a net gain of $48.2 million pretax and $26.5 million after-tax ($.16 per share) including the sale of our Lancia Bravo pasta operation and a restructuring charge for Yoplait yogurt operations in the second quarter.
 (3) In fiscal 1991, adjustment of previously established discontinued operations reserves.
 OPERATING RESULTS BY SEGMENT
 Percent Change
 From
 Prior Year
 Third Quarter Nine Months 3rd 9
 Sales 2/23/92 2/24/91 2/23/92 2/24/91 Qtr Mos
 Consumer Foods $1,248.5 $1,200.5 $3,934.2 $3,708.6 4 6
 Restaurants 619.8 547.1 1,843.1 1,615.3 13 14
 Total Sales $1,868.3 $1,747.6 $5,777.3 $5,323.9 7 9
 Operating Profit
 Consumer Foods(1)(2)$185.8 $202.0 $617.1 $571.9 (8) 8
 Restaurants 46.8 37.6 121.2 117.5 24 3
 Total Operating
 Profit 232.6 239.6 738.3 689.4 (3) 7
 Corporate Expenses,
 including interest (13.0) (25.3) (62.1) (70.5) (49) (12)
 Earnings - Pretax $219.6 $214.3 $676.2 $618.9 2 9
 (1) Fiscal 1992 third quarter results include a net charge of $3.0 million pretax and $1.9 million after-tax ($.01 per share) from the restructuring of our Consumer Foods national sales organization and adjustment of previously established reserves. Fiscal 1991 third quarter results include a net gain of $28.7 million pretax and $17.3 million after-tax ($.10 per share) from the sale of our O-Cel-O sponge operation and restructuring charges primarily for hot oatmeal cereal operations.
 (2) Fiscal 1992 cumulative results include a net gain of $11.2 million pretax and no after-tax effect including the sale of PYCASA, our Spanish frozen food subsidiary and restructuring charges for our Betty Crocker packaged mixes production and European food operations, and the call of our 9 3/8 percent debt in the second quarter. Fiscal 1991 cumulative results include a net gain of $48.2 million pretax and $26.5 million after-tax ($.16 per share) including the sale of our Lancia Bravo pasta operation and a restructuring charge for Yoplait yogurt operations in the second quarter.
 -0- 3/11/92 R
 /CONTACT: (Analysts) Dean Belbas, 612-540-2443, Ted Blood, 612- 540-2256, or (Media) R.C. Shulstad, 612-540-3745, all of General Mills/
 (GIS) CO: General Mills ST: Minnesota IN: FOD SU: ERN


AL -- MN002 -- 7482 03/11/92 16:41 EST
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