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General Mills to cut jobs under new restructuring plan

General Mills cereals are displayed on a market's shelf in New York, March 24, 2010. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - General Mills Inc (GIS.N), the maker of Cheerios cereal and Betty Crocker cake mixes, said it would cut 675-725 jobs in its international business under a new restructuring plan aimed at cutting costs and boosting growth.

The company, like rivals ConAgra Foods Inc (CAG.N) and Campbell Soup Co (CPB.N), has been struggling with sluggish U.S. sales of cereals and frozen foods as consumers shift to foods perceived as healthier.

While General Mills' U.S. sales for the third quarter ended Feb. 22 rose after five straight quarters of decline, international sales have declined in the last two quarters.

General Mills said on Thursday it will record pre-tax restructuring charges of about $57 to $62 million, a bulk of which of will be recorded in the current quarter.

The job cuts are expected save $45 million-$50 million per year, with about $25 million-$30 million being realized in the year ending May 2016, the company said on Thursday.

The restructuring is expected to be completed in the early part of its year ending May 2017, General Mills said. The company had about 43,000 employees as of May 2014, of which about half were outside the United States.

General Mills said in March it would complete the elimination of about 800 jobs, mainly in the United States, by the end of fiscal 2015 under a separate cost-cutting plan.

The company will also shut plants in Methuen in Massachusetts and Lodi in California under another restructuring plan, cutting about 680 jobs by the end of fiscal year 2016.

General Mills is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results next week.

(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru, Editing by Simon Jennings and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)