Mead Johnson has booked an increase in first-quarter sales and earnings, however, higher expenses meant profit growth trailed revenue gains.

In a regulatory filing yesterday (26 April), Mead Johnson said sales in the three months to 31 March rose 5% to US$1.03bn. Gains were driven by a 7% lift in the group’s Asia/Latin America region. Excluding the impact of discontinued operations, sales were up 6% on the year.

Operating profit in the three months rose to $249.1m, up from $248.8m last year. Net profit grew to $172.5m from $164.2m in the first quarter of 2012. Profits were boosted by higher sales and a lower effective tax rate, however, this was partially offset by an increased investment in brand building and demand generation activities as well as a one-off pension settlement expense.

Looking to the full-year, management confirmed its expectation for sales, excluding FX, to grow by 6-7%. The group guided to earnings per share in the range of $3.22 to $3.30.