* Q4 EPS $0.18 vs est $0.15
* Sales up 4.5 pct
* Expects 2010 capital spending to exceed $30 mln
* Shares up 2 pct
Feb 16 (Reuters) - Canada’s Winpak Ltd WPK.TO, a maker of packaging materials, reported fourth-quarter results that topped market estimates, helped by strong volume growth, lower operating expenses and raw material costs.
The company, however, said gross profit margins for this year are likely to pull back from the 30 percent level achieved in 2009. It also expects capital spending to exceed $30 million for 2010.
Winpak said it is actively seeking acquisition opportunities to complement its core area of food and health care packaging.
Net earnings for the quarter was $11.4 million, or 18 cents a share, compared with $8.9 million, or 14 cents a share, in the year-ago period.
Winpak sales rose 4.5 percent to $135.5 million.
Analysts on average had expected the company to post earnings of 15 cents a share, on revenue of $127.3 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Gross profit margins declined to 29.2 percent in the fourth quarter from the 30.1 percent recorded a year ago, hurt by a strong Canadian dollar.
Shares of the Winnipeg, Manitoba-based company closed up 2 percent at C$8.20 Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ($1=1.043 Canadian Dollar) (Reporting by Gowri Jayakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)