Kraft Foods, on the day it announced plans to split itself in two, has lifted its forecasts for annual sales and profits after posting “strong” second-quarter results.

The US food giant, which plans to create a North American grocery business and a global snacks maker, said it now expects revenue to grow by at least 5% in 2011, up from a previous forecast of growth of 4%.

The company now sees its 2011 operating earnings per share reaching at least US$2.25 compared to its earlier forecast of $2.20.

“We’ve raised our 2011 guidance to reflect our strong operating results and favorable currency through the first half,” CFO David Brearton said. “Despite rising input costs and a volatile economic environment, aggressive cost management coupled with strong revenue growth gives us confidence that we will deliver top-tier performance for the year.”

Kraft saw its net income increase 3.9% to $976m in the second quarter. Its operating income was up 6.2% at $1.81bn and net revenues climbed 13.3% to $13.88bn.

The Cadbury maker said its underlying operating income, which excludes acquisition and integration costs, climbed 4.4% to $1.9bn.

“Our second-quarter results reflect the benefits of our virtuous cycle,” chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld said. “Consumers are responding well to our investments in marketing and innovation, and our focus on end-to-end cost management is paying off. As a result, we’re successfully managing higher input costs through pricing and productivity, and we’re well-positioned to continue our momentum and take the next step in our transformation.”

Over the first six months of the year, Kraft’s net earnings fell 37.2% to $1.78bn as the company lapped last year’s first-half results, which were boosted by the proceeds of the sale of its pizza business to Nestle. Earnings from continuing operations increased 49.7%.

The company’s first-half operating income climbed 18.7% to $3.45bn. Net revenues were up 12.2% at $26.45bn.

Click here for the full earnings statement from Kraft.