Reported income was $139 million or $1.15 per share, compared to $122 million or 96¢ per share in the same period a year earlier.
“We are pleased with the first-quarter results which were highlighted by higher volumes and operating income, and earnings per share growth,” said Ilene Gordon, chairman, president and chief executive officer. “As expected, operating income in North America was up significantly as last year’s results reflected adverse weather effects, and in the first quarter of 2015 we had strong volumes in core and specialty ingredients and good cost control.
“Asia Pacific and EMEA achieved solid operating income for the quarter, in line with our expectations despite foreign exchange headwinds. These positives were slightly offset by softer demand and foreign exchange headwinds in South America, most predominantly in Brazil.”
In North America, first-quarter operating income increased from $65 million to $102 million. Approximately $20 million of the increase is attributable to the lapping of the adverse weather effects in the first quarter of last year.
Higher volumes, lower net corn costs, and lower manufacturing expenses accounted for the remainder of the increase.
Operating income in South America in the quarter was $25 million, down 18%, or $5 million, largely as a result of weaker demand in Brazil. Increased pricing mitigated the impact of foreign exchange throughout the region and higher input costs from inflationary effects in Argentina.
Asia Pacific’s results were flat at $26 million with weaker foreign exchange rates offset by higher volumes.
Operating income in Europe, Middle East and Africa increased 5% to $22 million. Weaker foreign exchange rates were offset by good cost management.