WESTCHESTER, ILLINOIS, U.S. — Ingredion Inc. reported on May 2 adjusted earnings per share of $1.41, an increase of 12% from the $1.26 reported for the same period a year earlier.

Ingredion said it raised quarterly dividend by 46% in the quarter, from 26¢ to 38¢.

“We are pleased with the first-quarter results which were highlighted by operating income and earnings per share growth. Contributing to the growth was good performance in the North America, Asia Pacific and Europe/Middle East/Africa regions,” said Ilene Gordon, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our South American region continues to effectively manage through the ongoing difficult environment, which includes lower economic growth, inflation and currency devaluations. In spite of these factors, South America operating income was down only $2 million.

“We continue to have confidence in our 2013 outlook supported by our ongoing ability to cope with macroeconomic headwinds and manage risk while still capitalizing on long-term growth opportunities.” 

The estimated drivers of the increase in the first quarter 2013 EPS versus the 2012 adjusted EPS were 15¢ from margin, partially offset by 5¢ of foreign currency devaluation and 3¢ due to lower volumes. A lower tax rate provided a 7¢ benefit and lower net financing costs contributed 2¢, partially offset by an increase in share count, which resulted in a negative impact of 1¢.

During the first quarter of 2013, net financing costs were $17 million versus $20 million in the year ago period. The decrease primarily reflects a combination of reduced borrowings and lower interest rates.

At March 31, 2013, total debt and cash and cash equivalents were $1.8 billion and $526 million, respectively, versus $1.8 billion and $609 million, respectively, at Dec. 31, 2012. 

In the first quarter of 2013, cash flow used in operations was $30 million compared to $29 million of cash generated from operations in the prior year period. The impact of higher raw material costs was reflected in a short-term investment in inventories. Cash used was also impacted by an increase in accounts receivable due to the timing of collections.

Capital expenditures, net of disposals, were $66 million in the first quarter of 2013 compared to $59 million in the year-ago period.