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Post Holdings reports 4Q profit despite soft sales

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Post Holdings Inc. turned a profit for its fiscal fourth quarter as the cereal maker wasn't weighed down by last year's costs for spinning off from Ralcorp and benefited from raising cereal prices.

The St. Louis-based said Wednesday that it company earned $10.8 million, or 31 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Sept. 30. That is compared with a loss of $479.6 million, or $13.94 per share, in the same quarter last year.

Post, which makes Honey Bunches of Oats, Grape Nuts and other cereals, was previously owned by Ralcorp Holdings Inc. The store-brand food maker spun Post off earlier this year to focus on its core business. After Post adjusted for costs tied to that process and other special items, it earned 35 cents per share in the most recent quarter, which matched expectations of analysts polled by FactSet.

The company's total revenue increased slightly to $247.2 million from $237.8 million as price increases made up for lower sales volume.

Post said it earned $49.9 million, or $1.45 per share, for the full fiscal year, compared with a loss of $424.3 million, or $12.33 per share, last year. It earned $1.53 per share for the full year on an adjusted basis. Its annual revenue slipped to $958.9 million from $968.2 million.

The company's shares slipped 18 cents to $34.54 by midday. Its stock has traded between $25.34 and $36.12 in the past 52 weeks.