February 2, 2010 / 6:04 PM / in 8 years

UPDATE 1-Saputo profit boosted by acquisition

* EPS C$0.50 vs analyst forecast C$0.47

* Revenue down 1.3 pct at C$1.50 billion

TORONTO, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Saputo Inc (SAP.TO) said on Tuesday its quarterly profit rose 80 percent, as the benefits from a string of purchases by the dairy products company offset lower cheese prices in the United States.

Montreal-based Saputo, Canada’s biggest cheese maker, earned C$104.3 million ($98.5 million), or 50 Canadian cents a share, in the third quarter, ended Dec. 31, up from C$57.8 million, or 28 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier.

Saputo bought the Neilson Dairy division of George Weston Ltd (WN.TO) for C$465 million in late 2008, boosting its presence in the Ontario fluid milk market.

However, revenue dropped 1.3 percent to C$1.50 billion as the average price for cheese in the United States fell, hurting the company’s ability to absorb rising production costs.

Analysts had expected, on average, earnings of 47 Canadian cents a share before items, and revenue of C$1.56 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

$1=$1.06 Canadian Reporting by Scott Anderson; editing by Rob Wilson

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