Kraft Foods said today (29 October) that third-quarter profits more than doubled on the back of the recent sale of its Post cereals business.

The US food giant booked net earnings of US$1.4bn for the three months to the end of September, compared to $596m a year earlier.

Kraft’s $1.7bn sale of the Post business to Ralcorp Holdings earlier this year boosted the figures. Excluding items, net earnings were down 5.9% to $658m.

However, the company decided to up its annual sales forecasts after seeing third-quarter revenue jump 19.4% to $10.46bn, thanks in part to the LU acquisition in Europe.

On an organic basis, revenue was up 7.1% as Kraft’s decision to raise prices on a number of products to offset higher input costs paid off. The result led Kraft to up its guidance for organic revenue growth from at least 6% to 7%.

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“Kraft had a strong quarter in a difficult environment,” said chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld. “Our operating momentum continued with solid top- and bottom-line contributions from all geographies. I am especially pleased that our volumes in the third quarter held up better than expected, despite significant cost-driven price increases and an unsettled economic environment.”

Kraft also reaffirmed its 2009 organic net revenue target of growth of at least 4%.