Saudi Arabian food maker Savola Group has booked a jump in first-quarter net earnings, with lower costs offsetting a drop in operating income.

The company said net income rose to SAR423m (US$112.79m) in the three months to the end of March, up 43.4% from SAR295m in the comparable period of last year. Net profit was boosted by higher sales and lower financing costs, Savola said in a regulatory filing.

However, operating profit was hit by start-up costs associated with beet sugar operations in Egypt. Operating profit fell 24% to SAR540m.

Click here to view the regulatory filing.