Mexican corn flour and tortilla maker Gruma swung to a profit in the third quarter of 2009 as sales increased 12%.

Net profit for the period reached MXN45m (US$3.4m), compared with a MCN1.77bn loss in the third quarter of 2008, brought about by derivatives losses.

Net sales in the quarter rose 12% to reach MXN12.57bn, driven mainly by a weaker peso against the US dollar.

Sales from non-Mexican operations constituted 73% of consolidated net sales during the quarter.

Operating income increased 52% from the year-ago-quarter to reach MXN790m driven by Gruma Corporation. Gruma Corp., which is based in Texas, is the tortilla and corn flour operating arm of Gruma the holding company.

Debt increased 19% to $919m in September, the company reported.

Gruma last week completed a debt restructuring in which the company converted $738.3m in exchange derivative losses into medium- and long-term loans.

The group also refinanced its $197m debt obligations under its five-year syndicated credit facility and refinancing its MXN3.37m credit facility with Bancomext.