US chewing gum maker Wm Wrigley Jr has posted a 14% rise in quarterly net earnings, on a 21% rise in sales.

The company reported net earnings of US$111.0m, or 49 cents per share, for the first quarter to 31 March, compared to $97.0m, or 43 cents per share, for the year-ago period.

Global sales rose to $812.2m from $672.4m a year earlier, driven by strong volume gains, positive contribution from currency translation, and favourable product mix. On a currency neutral basis, total company sales increased by 14%.

Sales in the company’s Europe, Middle East, Africa and India unit were up 31% on a very strong 20% volume gain and the benefit of currency effects. The unit’s core gum business, including the Extra and Orbit brands, achieved a solid performance. Positive results were seen across the geographic region with particular contributions from Russia, France and Germany.

First-quarter sales in North America were up 13% on a 4% unit volume increase. Favourable mix in the US was driven by the Orbit and Eclipse brands, including new Eclipse Mints, while the Excel brand helped drive volume and sales growth in Canada.

In Asia, volume gains of 9% drove sales growth of 12% in the quarter. These gains reflect improved momentum in China, as well as growth in Vietnam.