May 5, 2011 / 9:00 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 2-Mercer Q1 tops on higher pulp prices, energy sales

* Q1 EPS 52 euro cents vs est 37 euro cents

* Q1 rev up 24 pct at 224.1 mln euro

* U.S.-listed shares up 4 pct in after mkt trade (Adds details on pulp prices, fiber costs, energy sales)

May 5 (Reuters) - Mercer International’s MRIu.TO first-quarter profit topped market expectations as higher pulp prices and a rise in energy sales boosted results at the Canadian pulp producer, sending its U.S.-listed shares up 4 percent in after market trade.

Mercer, which produces market northern bleached softwood kraft (NBSK), the paper industry’s benchmark for pulp, said NBSK list prices rose by $30 per ADMT (air dried metric ton) in Europe and North America, and in China, prices rose by $50 per ADMT, in the quarter.

“Subsequently, in April, due to continuing favorable market conditions and the weak U.S. dollar, producers implemented a further $30 per ADMT price increase,” chairman Jimmy Lee said in a statement.

In April, prices in Europe were about $1,010 per ADMT, and in North America and China, about $1,020 and $920 per ADMT, respectively, Lee added.

The company, which was one among 24 pulp producers that qualified for credits under the Canadian government’s Green Transformation Program in 2009, said its Celgar green energy mill helped boost sale of excess energy by about 50 percent.

Fiber costs rose about 20 percent in the quarter, driving up overall expenses by 16 percent to 187.5 million euro.

Mercer, which posted January-March net income of 29.1 million euro ($43.1 million), or 52 euro cents a share, expects fiber costs to stay at those levels in the short to mid-term.

Analysts on average expected earnings of 37 euro cents a share, on revenue of 220 million euro, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company’s U.S.-listed shares were up 4 percent at $12.36 in after market trade on Thursday. They had closed at $11.86 on the Nasdaq. ($1 = 0.675 Euros) (Reporting by Gowri Jayakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)

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