General Mills Inc reported quarterly profit above Wall Street estimates, as the Cheerios cereal maker managed to eke out higher margins from cost-saving initiatives, sending its shares up nearly 5% before the bell on Wednesday (19 December).
Adjusted gross margin, which came in at 34.5% for the second quarter ended 25 November, beat the average estimate of 33.76%, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Excluding items, the company earned 85 cents per share, 4 cents above analysts' average estimate.
"Our job to do in the second half is to accelerate our sales growth while maintaining that same (cost and capital)discipline," CEO Jeff Harmening said in a statement on Wednesday.
Net sales rose 5% to $4.41 billion, helped by its acquisition of pet products maker Blue Buffalo, but was slightly below the average estimate of $4.51 billion.
Net earnings attributable to the company fell to $343.4 million, or 57 cents per share, from $430.5 million, or 74 cents per share, a year earlier, due to lower operating profit and higher interest expense.