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* Q1 EPS C$0.27 vs C$0.23 year ago
* Production rises 3 pct to average 28,446 bpd
* Cash flow up 4 percent
* Net operating costs fell to C$7.95/barrel from C$8.63/barrel
April 26 (Reuters) - MEG Energy Corp, a Canadian oil sands developer, reported an 18 percent rise in first-quarter profit on lower costs and higher price realizations.
Net income rose to C$53.4 million ($54.2 million), or 27 Canadian cents per share, from C$45.4 million, or 23 Canadian cents per share, a year ago.
Operating earnings, which are adjusted for items, increased to C$23.5 million, or 12 Canadian cents per share, from C$20.9 million, or 11 Canadian cents per share, in the year-ago period.
Production for the company, whose key operations are in the southern Athabasca oil sands region of Alberta, averaged 28,446 barrels per day, up 3 percent from the year-ago quarter.
Cash flow -- a glimpse into the company's ability to fund development -- rose 4 percent to C$72.0 million, or 36 Canadian per share.
Shares of the company, which has a market value of C$7.30 billion, closed at C$38.64 on Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.