(AGI) Rome, June 7 - Pasta Zara closed 2015 with a further rise in sales, which have been steadily increasing over the last five years. Positive signs also emerged in the first quarter of this year with an increase in production of 8.2 percent and sales of 7 percent compared to the same period last year. "Pasta Zara," reads a note, "has confirmed its good performance, demonstrating its ability to respond in the face of a non-positive economic situation on a number of foreign markets. Just consider that sales have virtually halved to Venezuela and exports to Russia, where Pasta Zara is leader in the pasta segment, have been cancelled as a result of EU and U.S. sanctions and the devaluation of the rouble." The year 2015 closed with revenues from sales and services of 285 million euros against 261 million in 2014, an increase of 8.4 percent. The first production figures for 2016 covering the January to April period are 94,023 tonnes compared to 86,864 in the same quarter in 2015. On foreign markets, where Pasta Zara is sold in 108 countries around the world, the firm "will continue in its commitment to combating unfair Italian sounding competition. That is, agricultural food production that simulates Italian origin but that obviously has nothing to do with the tradition and especially the quality of true Italian produce, a phenomenon that harms us and that unfortunately is spreading," continued President Furio Bragagnolo. "To see this in evidence just go to international food fairs." As regards exports, the current year is proving to be a harbinger of a further strengthening on foreign markets: "In this respect, the most interesting area appears to be the Middle East, especially Iran," added President Bragagnolo. (AGI). .