General Mills has raised its forecast for annual earnings after booking an increase in nine-month sales and earnings, with gains propelled by growth from established and new products.

The US food group said today (20 March) net earnings increased 20% in the first nine months of fiscal 2013, to US$1.49bn. The bottom line was boosted by a tax benefit, recorded in the first quarter. 

However, operating profit increased 9% year-on-year, climbing to $2.48bn.

In volume terms, sales rose by 8%. However, price cuts and currency exchange weighed on the result and value sales were up 6% in the period, climbing to $13.36bn.

General Mills chairman and CEO Ken Powell said the company had been able to drive new and existing growth globally. Revenues were boosted by the group’s acquisitions of Yoki Alimentos in Brazil and Yoplait Canada. 

The company sounded a note of caution on its fourth quarter. It anticipates higher supply chain costs and input cost inflation to hit profitability in the period. 

Nevertheless, for the full year, the group raised its earnings guidance to a range of $2.66-2.68 per share. Previously, it had predicted FY EPS of $2.65-2.67.