GENERAL MILLS PLANS GROWTH
GENERAL Mills laid out a five-year growth plan yesterday that includes increasing earnings per share by at least 45 per cent and reaching $18bn (£11.9bn) in sales.
The company, whose brands include Cheerios, Green Giant, Haagen-Dazs, Pillsbury and Wheatiesmaker, said drivers of that growth include new products and expanding in emerging markets.
For the 2010 fiscal year, which ended on 30 May, General Mills earned $2.24 per share on sales of $14.8bn.
By fiscal 2015, the company is targeting international sales of at least $3.7bn, up from $2.7bn now. It expects about $900m of that to come from China, which currently accounts for $350m.
The company laid out its plan during an investor meeting that was simultaneously broadcast over the internet.
Earlier this week, the company reported quarterly profit in line with analysts’ estimates, but said gross margins were flat, due in part to heightened promotional activity. It also forecast fiscal 2011 earnings below Wall Street estimates.
It forecast full-year earnings of $2.46 to $2.48 per share. Analysts on average were expecting $2.49 per share.
But chairman and chief executive Kent Powell said the forecast is “very much in line” with the company’s long-term growth model.
“There must have been some expectations for an upside surprise versus our model,” said chief financial officer Don Mulligan, noting the model calls for low single-digit growth in sales, mid-single-digit growth in operating profit and high single-digit growth in earnings per share.