U.S. soft drinks giant Coca Cola reported Wednesday that better-than-expected first-quarter profit backed by an increase in international sales and favorable foreign currency conversions boosted revenue.

The world's largest soft drink company reported first-quarter net income of 1.5 billion, or 64 cents a share, from $1.26 billion, or 54 cents per share, from the previous year. The per share figure beat analysts' consensus forecast of 62 cents.

The profit growth came on net revenues of 7.38 billion dollars, up 21 per cent from 6.1 billion dollars in the first quarter last year. The company cited higher sales of drink concentrate, acquisitions of bottlers, structural changes, and favorable foreign exchange rates.

Coke shares were up 26 cents at $61.20 in morning trade, from Tuesday's close of $60.94 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Atlanta-based company said overall unit case volume rose 6 percent in the quarter, led by a 7 percent gain in markets abroad. North American volume was flat, which the company said it was because of challenges in the U.S. economy.

Regional volume sales rose 3 percent in Europe, 9 percent in Latin America, 10 percent in the company's Pacific Group and 13 percent in its Eurasia unit made up of India, Russia and Eastern Europe. Sales volume fell 1 percent in Africa.

Sales volume of the company's carbonated soft drinks, which include Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fanta, rose 3 percent. Noncarbonated beverages such as Minute Maid orange juice, Glaceau vitaminwater and Dasani bottled water rose 17 percent.