MONTERREY, MEXICO — Gruma S.A.B. de C.V. posted majority net income of 261 million pesos ($21.3 million) in the first quarter ended March 31, up sharply from a loss of 491 million pesos in the same period in fiscal 2009.

The loss in 2009 was attributed to the company’s currency derivative instruments. Sales totaled 11,258 million pesos ($919,575,000), down 13% from 12,888 million pesos in the same period a year ago. The company said sales volume was mostly flat as volumes in Gruma Corp. and GIMSA were stable and higher sales volume in Molinera de Mexico was offset by lower volumes in Gruma Venezuela and Gruma Centroamerica.

Operating income at Gruma Corp. totaled 328 million pesos ($26,792,000), down 29% from 461 million pesos in the first quarter of fiscal 2009. Net sales totaled 5,278 million pesos ($431,082,000), down 5% from 5,536 million pesos a year ago. Sales volume at Gruma Corp. was flat as tortilla sales volume in the U.S. remained stable.

In corn flour, lower sales volume in the United States was related to the non-recurrent effect of inventories of the change in the retail distribution system toward company-owned routes in certain regions, Gruma said. The reduction was offset by higher corn flour volumes in Europe due to an increase in market share in brewing grits and better-than-expected organic growth in the company’s snacks customer base, Gruma added.

Operating income at GIMSA totaled 285 million pesos ($23,287,000), down 16% from 337 million pesos in the same period a year ago. Net sales, meanwhile, totaled 2,936 million pesos ($239,892,000), up 19%. Sales volume at GIMSA held flat at 470,000 tonnes.