Ralcorp Holdings, the US private-label food firm, expects earnings to grow by 5% during fiscal 2008, despite rising raw material costs.

The company, which also announced the acquisition of the Post cereals business from Kraft Foods today (15 November), forecast that results for the first quarter of fiscal 2008 would be down on the year.

However, Ralcorp expects earnings per share, excluding gains or losses made on forward sale contracts from its investment in mountain resorts operator Vail Resorts, to be up 5% for the year.

Annual sales for fiscal 2007 jumped 20% to $2.2bn for the 12 months to the end of September. Net income from Ralcorp's food business reached $242.9m, up from $193.3m a year earlier.

Sales and earnings across Ralcorp's food categories rose. The business operates in segments including cereals, frozen bakery and candy.

Consolidated net earnings fell from $68.3m to $31.9m.