August 2, 2011 / 2:17 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 2-Saputo profit hurt by C$'s strength, shares fall

* EPS C$0.61 versus forecast C$0.63

* Revenue up 14 percent

* Shares fall 5.3 percent

TORONTO, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Cheese-maker Saputo Inc SAP.TO reported a 13 percent rise in quarterly profit on Tuesday but missed market estimates, hurt by the strength of the Canadian dollar.

The appreciation of the Canadian dollar CAD= against the U.S. dollar and against the Argentinean peso wiped out about $42 million of the company’s revenue in the quarter, Saputo said.

The company is the third largest dairy processor in Argentina and one of the top three cheese producers in the United States.

But Saputo, which received a boost due to higher cheese prices in the United States, increased its quarterly dividend by 19 percent.

Still, shares of Saputo, which competes with Dean Foods Co DF.N and Kraft Foods Inc KFT.N, were down 5.3 percent at C$42.37 on Tuesday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

First-quarter earnings at Canada’s biggest dairy processor rose to C$126.6 million ($131.9 million), or 61 Canadian cents a share, from C$111.7 million, or 53 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 14 percent to C$1.64 billion.

Analysts on average were looking for earnings of 63 Canadian cents on revenue of C$1.63 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Montreal-based maker of Stella cheese is the owner of Neilson Dairy and one of North America’s biggest dairy processors.

$1=$0.96 Canadian Reporting by S. John Tilak; editing by Peter Galloway

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