Cheerios maker General Mills Inc on Wednesday raised its adjusted profit growth forecast for 2020, boosted by higher demand for its packaged products as people stockpile essential food supplies in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.
Fears of the spread of the coronavirus has prompted consumers in the United States and other coronavirus-hit countries to purchase certain items in bulk, hiking demand for cereal, dough and pet food, categories in which General Mills is a key player.
"We've partnered with our retail customers in recent weeks to service consumers' increased demand for food at home during this unique time," Chief Executive Officer Jeff Harmening said.
The company now expects constant-currency adjusted profit per share in 2020 to rise 6% to 8%, compared with an earlier projection of an increase of 3% to 5%.
General Mills has, however, kept organic net sales forecast intact, to account for impact from temporary closure of its Häagen-Dazs ice-cream shops in China.
Excluding items, the company earned 77 cents per share in the third quarter that ended on Feb. 23, beating analysts' expectation of 76 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
However, net sales slipped to $4.18 billion from $4.20 billion, missing the average analyst estimate of $4.21 billion.
Shares of the company were down 4.5% in premarket trading amid a decline in the broader market.