Corn Products International has reported a rise in net sales in the first quarter ended 31 March 2005, but income fell.

Sales in the quarter were $567m compared with $550m in the same period last year. Income before taxes fell to $25.9m from $44.7m in year earlier period.

"This was obviously a challenging quarter," said Sam Scott, chairman, president and CEO. "While the year-over-year comparison is a tough one, since the first quarter of 2004 was the second-strongest quarter of last year, I am optimistic that the remaining three quarters of this year will be back on track to deliver another year of growth."

The company blamed higher net corn costs, caused by lower co-product values for a fall in margins in North America. It was also hit by higher natural gas prices.

"We are confident that our Company will rebound from this disappointing first quarter," said Scott. "We expect the last nine months of this year to outperform the same period in 2004."

Corn Products International, Inc. is one of the world's largest corn refiners and a major supplier of high-quality food ingredients and industrial products derived from the wet milling and processing of corn and other starch-based materials.