CALGARY - Cenovus Energy Inc. (CVE.TO) says production from its oil sands operations was up 32 per cent in the first quarter from the same time last year, helping to fuel a $211-million net profit.

That's an improvement from last year's first-quarter loss of $118 million, when benchmark oil prices were at a 13-year low.

The Calgary-based oil sands producer says its net income was equal to 25 cents per share in the three months ended March 31, compared with a loss of 14 cents per share in the first quarter of 2016.

The results are contained in the first Cenovus quarterly report since it announced at the end of March that it plans to buy most of the Canadian assets belonging to ConocoPhillips in a $17.7 billion blockbuster deal.

Cenovus says it has been making progress towards completing and paying for that acquisition.

In addition to closing a $3 billion sale of Cenovus stock to help pay for the ConocoPhillips deal, the company has been marketing its Pelican Lake and Suffield conventional oil and gas assets.