* Net quarterly income $321.2 mln, beats expectations
* Net sales in quarter rise 12 percent to $2.06 billion
BUENOS AIRES Feb 23 (Reuters) - Tenaris, the top global producer of seamless steel pipes for the energy industry, said on Wednesday its fourth-quarter net profit rose 33 percent to $321.2 million, beating market expectations.
A Reuters poll of six analysts put the steelmaker's quarterly earnings at a median of $295.5 million, with estimates ranging from $285 million to $410 million.
In the fourth quarter of 2009, Tenaris had net income of $240.8 million.
Analysts said in mid-January that the company told a New York conference that fourth-quarter earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were expected to be little changed from the third quarter.
In the June-September quarter, Tenaris posted a net profit of $302.7 million.
At the time, Tenaris said it expected revenues and operating income to rise gradually in the fourth quarter and more strongly in the first half of 2011.
The fortunes of Tenaris (TENA.BA)(TS.N)(TENR.MI) are closely linked to energy exploration. Analysts said the steel market is coming back slowly, which was reflected in Tenaris' third-quarter earnings.
Luxembourg-based Tenaris is the most heavily weighted stock on Argentina's MerVal .MERV benchmark stock index, accounting for 15.53 percent of the index.
(Reporting by Guido Nejamkis; Writing by Eduardo Garcia; Editing by Richard Chang)