General Mills: Cooking Since 1856


Vita Nelson Image Vita Nelson Founding Publisher and Editor, Moneypaper

Founded in 1856, General Mills (GIS) is a leading global manufacturer and marketer of branded consumer foods, such as ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, refrigerated dough and other baking items, snack foods, ice cream, and yogurt, notes Vita Nelson, editor of DirectInvesting.

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Its portfolio of well-known brands includes Cheerios, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Haagen-Dazs, and Yoplait. Sales outside the U.S. account for just less than one-fourth of total sales.

Its long history of consistent revenues and earnings growth makes it a solid company. It is considered a diversified business with durable competitive advantage over rivals. The company also enjoys a solid management and corporate culture.

Consensus estimates call for the company to earn about $3.11 per share this year, up from $2.82 per share last year, and to go to about $3.24 per share next year.

General Mills has paid dividends to investors since 1898, and has increased its payments for 13 consecutive years. During the past five years it has increased its dividends at an average rate of 9.5%, with its quarterly payment of $0.49 currently providing a yield of 3.59%.


The stock exhibits a Dividend Payout Ratio of 69%, which means the company is paying out 69% of all its net income in dividends, and is retaining a percentage of earnings to reinvest or grow the business.