BRF Brasil Foods profit surge in fourth quarter vs yr ago
* BRF Q4 profit $284.2 mln vs $61.1 mln last year
* EBITDA rose nearly 11 pct to $505 mln vs yr ago
SAO PAULO, March 4 (Reuters) - BRF Brasil Foods SA , the world's largest poultry exporter, more than quadrupled its profits in the fourth-quarter of 2012 from a year earlier after raising prices on its meat products helped offset high feed costs.
The company, known as BRF, reported net income of 562.8 million reais ($284.21 million) in a securities filing on Monday, beating the average forecast of 374 million reais in a Reuters poll and coming in well above the 121 million reais earned a year earlier.
BRF, like many companies in the animal proteins sector, struggled with rising grain costs throughout 2012 after drought in Brazil and then the United States sent prices of corn and soybeans that are used to make animal feed to record highs.
The company's profit fell 75 percent year on year in the third quarter, due to rising costs. Analysts said that in addition to raising prices, more sales abroad helped BRF recover profit in the last quarter of 2012.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a gauge of operating profit known as EBITDA, rose 10.7 percent to 1 billion reais from a year ago and slightly above an average estimate of 993 million reais in the Reuters poll.
BRF's shares closed up 1.05 percent on Sao Paulo's Bovespa index, which ended negative, before posting earnings.
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