US private-label food producer Ralcorp Holdings has reported a fourth-quarter profit, compared to a year-earlier loss, and said its sales were boosted by recent acquisitions.

The company posted net earnings of US$12.5m, or 41 cents per share, for the fourth quarter to 30 September, compared to a net loss of $38.7m, or $1.24 per share, in the year-ago period, when the company recorded a $59.0m goodwill impairment loss.

Net sales for the quarter were $426.2m, up 29% from $329.4m a year earlier. For the full fiscal year to 30 September, the company reported net sales up 20% to $1.56bn, and net earnings of $65.1m, or $2.17 per share, compared to $7.4m, or 25 cents per share, in the previous year.

Sales were boosted by the inclusion of results from the Bakery Chef business, acquired on 3 December 2003, and the Concept 2 Bakers business, acquired on 27 February 2004. The company said about two-thirds of the increase in net sales came from acquisitions, while the remainder was the result of internal growth.