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General Mills Profit Rises, Helped by Cost Cuts

General MillsWednesday posted a 60.8 percent rise in net quarterly profit as cost-cutting measures and higher sales helped offset soaring prices for wheat and other commodities.

The maker of Cheerios cereal, Progresso soup and Yoplait yogurt said net profit was $430 million, or $1.23 a share, in the fiscal third quarter that ended Feb. 24, compared with $267.5 million, or 74 cents share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, earnings were 87 cents a share.

Like most food companies, General Mills has been hit by commodity costs that have risen well above expectations. One way the company has dealt with rising costs has been to reduce the size of its cereal boxes, effectively raising the price per ounce.

Sales rose 11.5 percent to $3.4 billion.

The company also reiterated its forecast for fiscal year 2008. In February, General Mills raised its forecast to $3.45 to $3.47 a share, excluding special items.

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