SAO PAULO, May 7 (Reuters) – Iguatemi Empresa de Shopping Centers SA, one of Brazil’s largest mall operators, reported a 4.6 percent drop in quarterly earnings on Tuesday, as improved operational results were eclipsed by higher financial expenses and taxes.

In a securities filing, the company said its first-quarter net income fell to 55.45 million reais ($13.90 million) from 58.1 million reais a year earlier.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew by 2.9 percent to 129.4 million reais. Total sales by stores based in the company’s malls hit 3.1 billion reais, up 5.4 percent from a year ago.

“Sales were positive in the first quarter, despite calendar effects, and we also started the second quarter off right,” Chief Financial Officer Cristina Betts