Mexican food group Gruma said it started to show “significant improvements” in the first quarter as earnings climbed.

In the three months to the end of March, net profit soared 149% to MXN209m (US$26m), driven mainly by higher operating income, lower financing costs, and a stock repurchase from US agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland.

Operating income increased 121% to MXN990m, boosted by improvements at most of the company’s subsidiaries, in particular GIMSA and Gruma Corp. Operating margin rose to 7.6% from 3.4% last year.

Net sales edged up to MXN13.06bn from MXN13.03bn last year, impacted by the effect of the peso appreciation.