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Shares of Utah-based Usana Health Sciences rose more than 11 percent Wednesday after the multilevel marketing company reported strong first quarter results and raised its projections for the year.

The Salt Lake City-based seller of nutritional supplements and personal care products said Tuesday after the close of regular trading that sales revenue for the first quarter rose by 7.4 percent, to $154.1 million, compared with $143.6 million for the same quarter last year. The growth was driven by strong sales in the company's Asia-Pacific region, which were only partially offset by a decline in North America.

Net earnings for the quarter increased by 21.2 percent, to $13.8 million. Earnings per share were 90 cents, up from 70 cents in the first quarter of 2011, an increase of 28.6 percent.

The jump in profits was linked mostly to higher sales and a proportionally lower cost of payments to its army of independent distributors, the company said.

"Our business started the year off very strong and generated top- and-bottom-line results that exceeded our expectations," CEO Dave Wentz said in a statement. "A temporary surge in sales ahead of price increases in several Asia-Pacific markets during the quarter contributed meaningfully to our record results."

Usana's shares closed Wednesday at $41, up $4.20, or 11 percent. They closed Tuesday at $36.80, up 8 cents for the day.

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