General Mills said that net sales for the second quarter of 2007 were US$3.47bn, up 5% from the same period a year ago. 

The manufacturer, whose brands include Cheerios and Yoplait in the US, said that unit volume grew 3% worldwide, with segment operating profits increasing 11% to $714m. 

Net earnings after tax rose 4% to $385m, and diluted earnings per share (EPS) totalled $1.08, up 11% from 97 cents in last year's second quarter.  

Through the first six months of fiscal 2007, General Mills' net sales increased 6% to $6.33bn. Earnings after tax totalled $652m, up 5% from last year's first half results. 

General Mills chairman and CEO Steve Sanger said: "Our results continue to reflect a combination of broad-based sales growth and margin expansion. In the second quarter, all three of our business segments posted good unit volume gains and even stronger growth in net sales.

"Gross margin improved and segment operating profits were up 11% for the period. This solid performance followed a good first quarter and puts us ahead of our plan targets for the first half of the year."

General Mills' diluted earnings per share guidance for 2007 has increased to $3.09 to $3.13 per share. Previously, the company had targeted diluted EPS of between $3.03 to $3.08.

"Our plans for the second half of this year anticipate continuing input cost inflation, along with year-over-year increases in consumer marketing spending and new product activity," said Sanger.  "Nevertheless, as a result of our good first half performance, we are raising our fiscal 2007 financial targets."