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General Mills Earnings Top Estimates

March 14, 2001

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (AP) _ Strong sales of yogurt and snacks helped General Mills Inc. boost third-quarter earnings by nearly 3 percent, slightly beating Wall Street predictions.

General Mills, the Golden Valley-based maker of Wheaties, Cheerios and Trix cereals, on Wednesday reported net income of $157.5 million, or 54 cents a share, for the quarter ended Feb. 25, compared with $153.3 million, or 50 cents per share, a year earlier.

The per share results surpassed by a penny expectations of analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial.

Quarterly sales rose 5 percent to $1.70 billion, from $1.61 billion. Sales of snacks and yogurt led the company in the third quarter, as they did in the second. General Mills said its convenience foods section posted a 9 percent unit gain for the quarter.

``General Mills current businesses continue to deliver solid topline and bottomline growth,″ said Steve Sanger, chairman and chief executive.

For the nine months ended Feb. 25, the company posted earnings of $519.1 million, or $1.78 per share, on sales of $5.27 billion. In the year-ago period, the company earned $505.5 million, or $1.62 per share, on sales of $5.01 billion.

General Mills shares were down 84 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $43.30 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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