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NEW YORK, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Canadian Oil Sands Trust COS_u.TO, which holds the biggest stake in Syncrude Canada Ltd, said on Wednesday its third-quarter profit rose on higher sales, but it cut quarterly distribution by 40 percent.
The trust, which has a 37 percent share in Syncrude, the world's larger oil sands producer, earned C$604 million, or C$1.25 per unit, up from C$361 million, or 75 Canadian cents per unit, in the year-prior quarter.
The profit beat the average analyst estimate of C$1.01 per unit, according to Reuters Estimates.
Canadian Oil Sands cut its quarterly distribution to 75 Canadian cents per unit, citing decline in crude oil prices and heightened risk in the credit markets.
Cash from operating activities nearly doubled to C$921 million, or C$1.91 per unit, from C$484 million, or C$1.01 per unit, in the third quarter of 2007.
Revenue after crude oil purchases and transportation expense rose to C$1.38 billion from C$936 million in the year-ago quarter.
The trust's share of Syncrude's production averaged 10.7 million barrels per day in the quarter, down from 11.8 million barrels per day in the year-earlier period.
Operating costs rose C$11.31 per barrel to C$32.15 per barrel. (Reporting by Paritosh Bansal; Editing by Gary Hill)