SÃO PAULO, Brazil – Marfrig Alimentos announced it would resume beef production at three of nine plants in the second quarter of 2012 following stronger beef demand and improved movement in Brazil’s beef cattle cycle.

Stronger domestic demand for beef and other food items contributed to the company’s first-quarter profit of 34.5 million reais (US$17.3 million), which was an increase of 46.7 percent from the R23.5 million (US$11.56 million) the company posted in the first quarter of 2011.

Consolidated net operating revenue declined slightly to R5.23 billion (US$2.612 billion) from R5.25 billion (US$2.625 billion) in the comparable year-ago period. This also represented a 9.6 percent decline from the fourth quarter in 2011, the company said.

EBITDA for the quarter rose 21.8 percent to R410.7 million (US$205 million) from R337.3 million in 2011.

The company closed the sale of the specialized logistics services business of Keystone Foods in the US, Europe, Oceania and Asia to The Martin-Brower Company, raising Marfrig’s cash position by $390.1 million.