US food manufacturer Pinnacle Foods has announced a third-quarter profit after a loss in the corresponding period last year.

Net earnings were up to US$13m, compared to a US$12m loss in the same period last year, a result hit by a US$13m tax charge related to the company's refinancing.

Pinnacle Foods, which produces brands such as Birds Eye ready meals and Armour canned meats, announced net sales of US$575m for the third quarter ended 25 September, a 6% increase on the year.

For the first nine months of 2011, net sales were US$1.78bn, a 0.5% increase compared to a year earlier. Net earnings were US$41m, a steep rise when compared to US$6m in the first nine months of last year.

Pinnacle's CEO Bob Gamgort said: "Our increased investment in consumer marketing and innovation delivered strong sales growth in the quarter.

"Further, we began to realise the benefits of retail pricing actions previously implemented and have made sequential improvement in our year on year gross margin comparisons."