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Ipsco White Hot

The first quarter blows out targets.
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scorched first-quarter earnings targets, posting an 18% sales gain as prices rose.

The Lisle, Ill., company made $151 million, or $3.12 a share, for the quarter ended March 31, compared with the year-ago $155 million, or $3.06 a share. Revenue rose to $903 million from $767 million a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a profit of $2.82 a share on sales of $816 million.

"Ipsco continues to generate industry leading results based on the sustained strength in its core markets for plate and energy sector products, operating consistently at a high rate of profitability," said CEO David Sutherland. "Over the past two years Ipsco's operating income has averaged $246 per ton, a mark which ranks at the top of our industry."

Both steel mill product and tubular shipments set new quarterly records. Steel mill product shipments of 658,000 tons increased 6.5% over last year and 7.1% over the prior quarter while tubular shipments of 347,000 tons increased 46% over the prior year, primarily due to greater large diameter shipments. Tubular shipments were 2.4% greater than the prior quarter. Ipsco's composite first-quarter product price of $898 per ton was also a new quarterly record and was up $2 per ton from a year ago and $4 per ton higher than the prior quarter.

The company said it expects to make around $2.70 a share for the second quarter, against the $2.60 Thomson estimate.