BATTLE CREEK, MICH. — Strong sales of cereals and snacks helped drive net earnings growth of 12% at The Kellogg Co. in the third quarter. Net income in the third quarter ended Sept. 27 totaled $342 million, equal to 90c per share on the common stock, up from $305 million, or 77c per share, in the same period a year ago.
Net sales were $3,288 million, up 9% from $3,004 million a year ago.
For the first nine months of fiscal 2008, net income totaled $969 million, or $2.54 per share, up 5% from $927 million, or $2.34 per share. Net sales were $9,889 million, up from $8,982 million.
"The Kellogg business model and strategy continue to give us the ability to offset inflationary headwinds while hitting our targets and delivering sustainable, dependable performance in these very volatile times," said David Mackay, chief executive officer.
Operating profit at Kellogg North America rose 14% to $380 million buoyed by a 10% gain in net sales to $2,156 million.
Retail Cereal posted internal sales growth of 7%, while Retail Snacks had sales growth of 10%. The North America Frozen and Specialty Channels posted internal net sales growth of 11%.
At Kellogg International, net sales grew approximately 9%, led by 10% internal sales growth in the Asia Pacific region and 3% growth in Europe. The company’s Latin American region, meanwhile, sustained a 1% decline in sales, which compared with 12% growth during the third quarter of fiscal 2007.
Operating profit at Kellogg in the third quarter rose 8% to $533 million, up from $492 million in the same period a year ago.
Looking forward, Kellogg said it expects its full-year earnings to be toward the high end of its previous guidance of $2.95 to $3 per share, and mid single-digit internal sales and internal operating profit growth for the full year.
"We remain confident in our ability to deliver another year of sustainable and dependable performance despite the uncertain economic environment and unpredictable foreign exchange markets," Mr. Mackay said.