* Q4 net income C$0.25/unit vs est. C$0.32/unit
* Sees Q1 production of 42,500 to 43,000 boe/d
March 11 (Reuters) - Canadian heavy oil producer Baytex Energy Trust BTE_u.TO reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit, mainly on higher royalties and expenses that offset improvements in oil prices.
For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2009, the trust posted net income of C$28 million ($27.32 million) or 25 Canadian cents per unit, compared with C$52.4 million or 53 Canadian cents per unit a year ago.
Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of 32 Canadian cents per unit, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Petroleum and natural gas sales for the quarter grew 19 percent to C$238 million, with production increasing 1.6 percent to 42,713 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d). For the first quarter, production is expected to be about 42,500 to 43,000 boe/d.
For 2010, the company has an exploration and development capital budget of $235 million, which is designed to generate an average production rate of 43,500 boe/d.
Units of the Calgary, Alberta-based trust were down 31 Canadian cents at C$33.91 Thursday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ($1=1.025 Canadian dollar) (Reporting by R. Manikandan in Bangalore; Editing by Bijoy Koyitty)