Corn Products International has reported an 89% increase in first-quarter earnings, boosted by increased sales volumes and an improved product mix.

The company, which makes food ingredients such as dextrose, starch and high fructose corn syrup, posted net income of US$25.7m, or 70 cents per share, for the first quarter to 31 March, compared with $13.6m, or 38 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Net sales for the quarter were $550m, up from $479m a year earlier.

“Increased volumes, improved price/product mix and strong currencies all contributed to an outstanding quarter for our company,” said Sam Scott, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Corn Products International.

“At the same time, our ongoing focus on costs is reflected in our bottom-line results, as both gross margin and operating margin continue the upward trend that we established over the previous year,” he added.

The company expects its full-year 2004 earnings per share to increase 12-17% over 2003.

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“We are confident that our business will grow in 2004, with a very strong first half,” said Scott. “While we expect corn and energy costs to increase, we also anticipate continuing improvement throughout our global business.