CNH Global N.V. (CNH.N) posted a quarterly profit that handily beat analysts' estimates on higher margins and the strength of the North American agriculture market.

Rising prices of food commodities including corn, wheat and soybean have boosted farmers' incomes and they can afford to buy high-margin machinery, especially in North America.

CNH Global, the world's second largest maker of farm equipment after Deere & Co (DE.N), also reaffirmed its full-year revenue growth of 5 percent.

It expects global agricultural and construction equipment markets to remain positive in 2012.

The company makes tractors, combines, planters, forklifts and sked steer loaders under the Case and New Holland brands among others.

First-quarter net income rose to $269 million, or $1.11 per share, from $138 million, or 63 cents per share, a year ago.

Sales rose 22 percent to $4.64 billion. Operating margin increased to 8.8 percent from 6.5 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts had expected earnings of 74 cents per share on revenue of $4.20 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Agricultural equipment sales rose 18 percent while construction equipment jumped 41 percent.