Growth in This Market?

“We had a good day today.”

How many CEOs can say that when the Dow drops 449 points in a single session? Well, General Mills’ Ken Powell can, and he did during an interview with Cramer Wednesday.

General Mills reported a great quarter today, and the stock closed up $1.19, or almost 2%. Powell, who also serves as chairman, attributed his company’s success to a focus on productivity. That helped to offset high food costs and allowed the GIS to innovate and build out its brands. Powell said that focus boosted top-line growth, generating high-quality operating profit and earnings-per-share growth. And the results showed across the board, from Cheerios to Progresso Soup.

Powell also emphasized that regardless of what may be a larger trend among consumers to trade down to generics, his brands were gaining in market share. And as more and more families choose eating at home over dining out, more trips to the grocery story just further increase business for General Mills.

But the company is doing well overseas, too, and there’s plenty of room still left for growth there. About eight years ago, General Mills received only 5% of its sales from outside the U.S. Now it’s 25%.

“We got a lot of runway here,” Powell said. “That’s going to be a very exciting part of the General Mills growth story going forward.”

And unlike a lot of the companies in danger of going under these days, General Mills balance sheet is “very solid.” The company held three debt offerings in the past year, and all three were over subscribed. And GIS has outperformed the market indicies for 10, 30, 50 years – “any period you want to choose,” the CEO said.

“That’s the reason why we should be a core part of anybody who’s looking for good long-term holdings,” Powell said.

Cramer’s bullish on General Mills.

Jim’s charitable trust owns General Mills.

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