General Mills To Take Health Care Charge

General Mills says it expects to take a non-cash charge of about $34 million, or 10 cents a share, as a result of health care reform.
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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- General Mills (GIS) - Get Report expects to take a non-cash charge of about $34 million, or 10 cents a share, in fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, as a result of the new health care reform bill signed into law on March 23.

General Mills, which owns well-known household food brands such as Pillsbury, Yoplait and Betty Crocker, joins the

growing number of companies

that will no longer receive tax breaks for providing prescription drug benefits to retired workers.

Meanwhile, General Mills reaffirmed its earnings guidance of $4.57 to $4.59 a share for the fiscal year ending May 30.

>> Who Owns General Mills?: Bruce Kovner

Other companies that have announced similar charges include

Deere

(DE) - Get Report

,

Caterpillar

(CAT) - Get Report

,

Verizon

(VZ) - Get Report

,

Medtronic

(MDT) - Get Report

,

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

and

3M

(MMM) - Get Report

.

The tax changes don't kick in until 2011; companies are reporting their financial impact this year in order to fulfill accounting rules.

Though the charges reported by many companies may seem substantial, some industry observers believe they'll barely leave a dent in corporate bottom lines.

Many companies have also been accused of "double dipping" on tax deductions under the old system.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York

RELATED STORIES:

>> Health Care Reform: Companies React

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