US food giant General Mills has reported a rise in quarterly profit, boosted by sales of new products such as Berry Burst Cheerios.

The Minneapolis-based company posted net earnings of US$225m for the fourth quarter to 25 May, compared to $57m in the year-ago period. Fourth-quarter net sales grew 10% to exceed $2.5bn. Restructuring costs and other exit and merger-related costs totalled $31m pretax and $19m after tax for the fourth quarter of 2003, compared to $56m pretax and $36m after tax in the same period of 2002.

Full-year net earnings doubled to $917m from $458m earned in 2002. Both years included certain costs primarily related to the company’s acquisition of Pillsbury on 31 October 2001.

Annual net sales increased 32% to $10.5bn, reflecting good business growth and an incremental five months of Pillsbury results. On a comparable basis (as if General Mills had owned Pillsbury for all 12 months of fiscal 2003 and 2002) net sales grew 6%.

General Mills chairman and CEO Steve Sanger said the results met or exceeded the company’s major performance objectives for the year.