US agribusiness Bunge has said that its first-quarter net profit tripled from a year ago, as strong global sales offset weak demand in the US.

Bunge said net earnings in the first quarter rose to US$40m, or 40 cents a share, from $13m, or 15 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Earnings were also boosted by the company’s acquisition of French edible oil manufacturer Cereol, reported Reuters.

Analysts had forecast an average of 33 cents a share for the quarter to 31 March, with a forecast range of 30 cents to 35 cents.

Earlier in April, Bunge forecast first-quarter profit of between 30 and 35 cents a share.

The company said agribusiness results were particularly strong in South America, helping to offset weaknesses in North America where drought caused reduced harvests of soybeans and grains.

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By GlobalData

For the second quarter, Bunge expects net profit of between $55m and $60m.