Monster Beverage, a California-based marketer and distributor of energy drinks and alternative beverages, has reported $517.3m gross sales for the first quarter ended 31 March 2012, a 26.9% increase, compared to $407.6m in the same period a year ago.

The company has registered 27.5% increase in net sales from $356.4m to $454.6m in the 2012 first quarter.

Operating expenses increased to $114.9m for the quarter ended 31 March 2012, compared to $97.1m for the same quarter last year, whereas, operating income increased 42.8% to $126.3m from $88.5m for the comparable first quarter.

Net income was up 38.3% to $76.1m from $55m in the same period a year ago.

Distribution costs as a percentage of net sales for 2012 first quarter were 4.3%, compared to 4.1% in the 2011 first quarter.

Selling expenses as a percentage of net sales were 12.3% for the first quarter, compared with 13.7% in the same quarter last year.

Monster Beverage chairman and CEO Rodney Sacks said during the quarter, they launched their fifth product in the Monster Rehab line.

"We are continuing to expand into new international markets and retail sales of Monster Energy commenced in Hong Kong and Macau during April and in Japan and Ecuador earlier this week," Sacks said.

"We are planning launches in additional international markets later this year."

The company markets and distributes Monster Energy brand energy drinks, Monster Energy Extra Strength Nitrous Technology brand energy drinks, Java Monster brand non-carbonated coffee + energy drinks, X-Presso Monster brand non-carbonated espresso energy drinks, M-3 superconcentrated energy drinks and Monster Rehab non-carbonated rehydration energy drinks.

Monster Beverage also offers Worx Energy shots, and Peace Tea iced teas, as well as Hansen’s natural sodas, apple juice and juice blends, multi-vitamin juices, Junior Juice beverages, Blue Sky beverages, Hubert’s Lemonades, Vidration vitamin enhanced waters and Pre Probiotic drinks.