USA – General Mills, an American multinational manufacturer and marketer, has announced fourth quarter and full-year results with increase in net sales to US$15.7 billion in the full year.

According to the company, the annual net sales increased 1 percent to US$15.7 billion; organic net sales were flat to last year

The operating profit decreased 2 percent while total segment operating profit decreased 6 percent in constant currency.

For the quarter results, the net sales in the quarter increased 2 percent to US$3.9 billion, while organic net sales increased 1 percent.

The operating profit decreased 8 percent; total segment operating profit increased 7 percent in constant currency with diluted earnings per share (EPS) were US$0.59 compared to US$0.69 a year ago; adjusted diluted EPS totalled US$0.79, up 7 percent in constant currency

The company also announced that it would cut 625 jobs by the end of next year as it looks to reduce costs amid slowing sales of its Yoplait yogurt, as well as rising commodity and freight expenses.

According to the Reuters, a quarterly dividend at the prevailing rate of US$0.49 per share, will be payable August 1, 2018, to shareholders of record as of July 10, 2018.

General Mills, which also owns Häagen-Dazs and Betty Crocker brands, has been struggling to turn around its U.S. yogurt business as competitors such as Chobani and Danone unleash new flavors and healthier versions of yogurt.

Chief Executive Jeffrey Harmening said he expects new launches, including yogurt with high protein and less sugar, to boost sales in 2019.

As the company’s yogurt sales continue to fall, General Mills has relied on cereals and snack business to help prop up its top line.

For 2019, the company expects total organic net sales to be in the range of flat to up 1 percent in 2019.

Including the impact of its acquisition of pet food snacks maker Blue Buffalo, net sales are expected to rise 9 percent to 10 percent from a year earlier.

“We were pleased to see profit margins improve from a year ago as cost savings and increased sales of products with higher profit margins more than offset headwinds from higher transportation and input costs,” Edward Jones analyst Brittany Weissman said.

“Fiscal 2018 represented an important first step in returning our business to sustainable topline growth,” said General Mills Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Harmening.  “We made significant progress toward competing more effectively this year, with strong innovation, marketing, and in-store execution driving positive organic sales growth in each of our last three quarters.