Following is additional detail on first-quarter 2014 results by segment.
In North America, first-quarter sales were $1,580m, 8% above the prior-year quarter, and up 10% excluding negative currency translation impacts. Organic sales growth was 5%, driven primarily by higher sales to the energy end-market as on-site volumes increased from new project start-ups for hydrogen supply to refinery customers and higher pricing. Acquisitions contributed 3% growth. Operating profit was $378m, 6% above prior-year.
In Europe, first-quarter sales were $397m, up 7% versus the first quarter of 2013. Acquisitions, primarily Dominion Technology Gases, contributed 5% growth. Organic sales growth of 2% came from higher pricing and higher volumes. Operating profit was $79m, an increase of 27% versus the prior-year quarter, including positive currency translation and acquisitions. Underlying operating profit growth was driven by higher volumes, higher price and lower costs.
In South America, first-quarter sales were $488m. Sales grew 7% from the prior-year quarter, excluding a 15% negative currency impact, primarily due to volume growth and higher overall pricing. Operating profit was $113m, up 16% excluding negative currency translation, due to higher volumes and higher pricing partially offset by cost inflation.
Sales in Asia were $392m in the quarter, up 7% from the prior year driven by volume growth in India, China, and Korea and higher pricing for helium and rare gases. Sales growth came primarily from metals, energy and electronics customers. Operating profit was $75m, an increase of 19% versus the prior-year period due primarily to volume growth and higher pricing.
Praxair Surface Technologies had first-quarter sales of $169m, 4% above prior year. Organic sales increased 3% from higher volumes of aviation coatings and higher price. Operating profit was $30m as compared to $26m in the prior year, due primarily to higher volumes, price and productivity gains.