US snack maker Diamond Foods has lifted its earnings forecast for its upcoming fiscal year after 12 months of “record” results.

Diamond, which in the last 12 months has snapped up crisp maker Kettle Foods, sees its earnings per share for fiscal 2010/2011 reaching US$2.38-2.48, compared to its previous guidance of $2.35-2.45.

The company said its improved profit forecast reflected a target for annual sales of $910-940m. Diamond’s full-year results for the 12 months to the end of July, published yesterday (5 October), included a 19% increase in net sales to $680.2m.

The full-year numbers also showed Diamond had grown its net income by 10% to $26.2m. Earnings per share were $1.36, down from $1.42 a year earlier.

Stripping out one-off items mainly related to the acquisition of Kettle, non-GAAP full-year earnings grew 52% to $36.8m and earnings per share climbed 32% to $1.91.

Fourth-quarter net sales were up 55% at $176.6m. Net income rose 60% to $6.7m and earnings per share increased 20% to $0.30.

Excluding some $1.3m in costs linked to the Kettle deal, non-GAAP earnings per share were up 36% to $0.34. Net income reached $7.5m, up from $4.2m a year earlier.

“We successfully acquired and integrated Kettle Foods while driving strong organic growth in our base business, delivering 52% earnings growth for the year,” said chairman, president and CEO Michael Mendes. “For 2010, our snack sales grew 70% and are projected to exceed $540m this year, 25 times larger than when we went public in 2005.”

Click here for the earnings statement from Diamond.