NEW YORK – General Mills Inc. has sold €900 million ($965 million) in unsecured bonds, taking advantage of low long-term rates to repay a portion of the company’s commercial paper obligations and for general corporate purposes.
Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. on April 20 assigned an A3 rating to the notes. Moody’s said the company’s rating outlook is stable.
The General Mills debt was issued in two tranches, including €500 million 1.00% notes due 2023 and €400 million 1.5% notes due 2027. As of February 2015, General Mills long-term debt totaled $6.5 billion.
General Mills is paying about 0.35% on its commercial paper obligations.“The A3 ratings reflect General Mills' diverse portfolio of leading brands, including Big G, Pillsbury, Nature Valley, Progresso and Yoplait,” Moody’s said. “The ratings also reflect the company's solid operating margins, moderate financial leverage and balanced financial policy. Financial leverage has increased recently due partly to the approximately $800 million debt-finance Annie's acquisition in September 2015 and due to gross margin pressure from higher supply chain costs. However, Moody's expects that more stable core operating performance over the next year and faster earnings growth contributed by Annie's will allow General Mills to restore credit metrics by the May 2016 ending of next fiscal year.”