General Mills raises outlook on stronger quarter

, The Associated Press

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General Mills Inc. is raising its earnings outlook for the year after newly acquired businesses helped lift its second-quarter profit by 22 percent.

The Minneapolis-based maker of Cheerios, Betty Crocker and Hamburger Helper said Wednesday that the addition of Yoplait Canada and Yoki Alimentos, a Brazilian food company, were among the biggest drivers for a sales increase in the quarter.

For the three months ended Nov. 25, the company earned $541.6 million, or 82 cents per share. That compares with $444.8 million, or 67 cents per share, a year earlier. Not including one-time items, the company said it earned 86 cents per share.

Total revenue rose 6 percent to $4.88 billion.

Analysts on average expected a profit of 79 cents per share on revenue of $4.88 billion, according to FactSet.

The company now expects to earn between $2.65 and $2.67 per share for the year, excluding one-time items. It previously forecast $2.65 per share. CEO Ken Powell noted that the company has a "promising slate of new products" for its core U.S. market, as well as strong advertising and in-store merchandising.

In the U.S. retail segment, General Mills said sales rose 2 percent as increases in its snack, Small Planet organic and natural foods and meals division offset declines in Yoplait, cereals and baking products. Its international division rose 19 percent, reflecting the addition of Yoki and Yoplait Canada.

The overall increase in revenue was driven by volume growth from new businesses, which offset price declines.

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