May 17, 2011 / 12:36 PM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 2-AbitibiBowater Q1 profit misses on higher costs

* Q1 EPS $0.25 vs est $0.40

* Revenue up 9 pct at $1.2 bln

* Sees rest of 2011 improve on price hikes, reduced costs

* Shares down 6 pct (Adds details on costs; updates share mvt)

May 17 (Reuters) - AbitibiBowater Inc’s first-quarter profit came in below market estimates as higher energy and fiber costs, and a strong Canadian dollar squeezed results at North America’s largest newsprint maker, sending its U.S.-listed shares down as much as 6 percent.

The company, which emerged from bankruptcy protection in December following a reorganization that reduced its debt, expects the rest of the year to improve from price increases for its products and reduced costs.

Average operating costs in the market pulp segment increased $74 per metric ton sequentially, as a result of maintenance outages at its kraft mills.

January-March earnings were $30 million, or 31 cents a share, up from a loss of $500 million, or $8.68 a share, a year ago. Net of special items, the company earned 25 cents a share.

Revenue rose 9 percent to $1.2 billion.

Analysts on average expected earnings of 40 cents on revenue of $1.22 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of the company were down as much as 6 percent at $24.6 in morning trade on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. Its shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange fell as much as 6 percent to C$23.97. (Reporting by Gowri Jayakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy)

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