US food group Ralcorp Holdings posted an increase in first-quarter profit today (8 May) thanks to earnings from the Post cereals business it acquired two years ago.

The company posted a profit of US$70.2m for the three months ended 31 March, up from $38.5m in the same quarter a year ago.

Net sales for the period increased 48% to reach $946.5m. Around $279.4m of the second quarter's $304.9m sales growth came from Post Foods.

Excluding Post Foods, second quarter sales volume changes were mixed, with an increase in cereals (4%) and declines in frozen bakery products (14%), snacks (12%), and sauces and spreads (5%). Sales dollars were up in all segments as Ralcorp raised selling prices in a number of its product categories in an effort to cover dramatically higher input costs.

Earnings before income taxes and equity earnings for the second quarter increased to $98.5m from $49.2m in the same quarter last year.

Due to a recall of products containing peanut paste traced to Peanut Corporation of America, Ralcorp recorded around $3.4m of costs and experienced short-term softness in consumer demand for items related to peanut butter.