US private-label food group TreeHouse Foods today (10 February) posted a 27% rise in fourth-quarter earnings, boosted by sales that were up by more than a quarter.

TreeHouse booked net income of US$28.1m for the last three months of 2010, up 27.1% on the year.

The company said fourth-quarter net sales rose by 25.9% to $509.5m thanks to the acquisition of two private-label firms in the last year – Sturm Foods in December 2009 and S.T. Specialty Foods last September.

Without the impact of the aqcuisitions, sales would have risen 1.8%, an increase that TreeHouse said “demonstrated continued demand for the company’s private-label products in the grocery segment”.

Full-year net income increased 11.8% to $90.9m, on the back of a 20.2% increase in net sales to $1.82bn.

Chairman and CEO Sam Reed said: “We had an outstanding year, highlighted by the strategic acquisitions of Sturm Foods and S.T. Specialty Foods, as well as solid core operating performance from our legacy businesses. Our fourth quarter results surpassed our expectations, and we are eager to build on this momentum in 2011.”

Nevertheless, shares in TreeHouse were down 0.9% at $48.86 at 13:18 ET today.

Click here for the full statement from TreeHouse Foods.