November 13, 2009 / 1:42 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Stella-Jones Q3 profit up 22 pct

* Net income up nearly 22 pct

* Sales down 6 pct

* Sees sales softening in short term

Nov 13 (Reuters) - Wood utility poles maker Stella-Jones Inc (SJ.TO) posted a 22 percent rise in quarterly profit, but said it expects organic sales growth to continue to be challenging in the months ahead.

The railway tie market, which accounts for 40 to 45 percent of the company’s business, will continue to face challenging market conditions as some railway operators defer taking deliveries until the first quarter of next year to keep inventory levels down, the company said.

“Given uncertainty about the timing of government driven infrastructure projects, management believes that sales will soften in the short-term until such time as general economic conditions improve,” Stella-Jones said in a statement.

The company, which supplies poles and railroad ties by treating wood it buys from sawmills, posted a net income of C$8.3 million, or 65 Canadian cents a share, compared with C$6.9 million, or 54 Canadian cents a share, a year ago.

Third-quarter sales fell about 6 percent to C$104.7 million. Railway tie sales fell 13.8 percent to $44.1 million.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 60 Canadian cents a share, excluding special items, on revenue of C$108.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of the company closed at C$22.82 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Amit Kumar in Bangalore; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan)

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