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* Q1 loss C$0.01/basic shr vs loss C$0.28/basic shr, last year
* Q1 rev down 16 pct to C$162.2 million
* Sees modest return to profitability in Q2
April 29 (Reuters) - Canadian steel and plastic distributor Samuel Manu-Tech Inc's (SMT.TO) first-quarter loss narrowed, and the company sees a modest return to profitability in the second quarter.
"The company has started to benefit from the gradual recovery in North American economic conditions, which, combined with the positive impact of higher margins and ongoing cost reduction efforts, has resulted in a return to profitability in most of our operating units," Chief Executive Mark Samuel said in a statement.
The company, however, expects continued upward pressure on carbon steel and stainless steel pricing in the second quarter.
"There is concern that the rising prices may have a negative impact on the relatively weak construction sector and that some projects could be delayed," the company said.
For the quarter ended March 31, the company posted net loss of C$0.3 million, or a cent per basic share, compared with a net loss of C$9.1 million, or 28 Canadian cents a basic share, a year ago. Revenue fell 16 percent to C$162.2 million due to lower volumes and selling prices and the negative impact of the stronger Canadian dollar on U.S. based sales.
Analysts on average expected earnings of 1 Canadian cent a share on revenue of C$136.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares of the Toronto-based company closed at C$5.51 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Arnika Thakur in Bangalore; Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)