General Mills

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wrung much better-than-expected 19% earnings growth out of a 4% rise in sales in the second quarter, capitalizing on a better pricing environment, productivity enhancement and a lower tax rate.

The food company earned $367 million, or 97 cents a share, in the three months ended Nov. 28, compared with earnings of $308 million, or 81 cents a share, last year. Sales were $3.17 billion in the latest quarter compared with $3.06 billion a year ago.

The latest quarter included restructuring and amortization expenses that reduced net income by 2 cents a share. Analysts had been expecting the company to earn 87 cents a share on sales of $3.17 billion. The stock was recently up 9 cents to $49.21.

For the full fiscal year, General Mills expects to earn $2.75 to $2.80 a share, including one-time expenses of 10 cents to 15 cents a share. The estimate doesn't include proceeds from the company's sale of a European snack food joint venture to


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, announced earlier this month.

"Our plans call for continuing contributions from both productivity and pricing," General Mills said. "In particular, we expect our list price increases and higher merchandised price points to be increasingly reflected at retail."