* Higher volumes, prices, cost cuts drive earnings
* Tissue, Forest units boost results (Adds detail, comment)
STOCKHOLM, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Swedish hygiene and paper products maker SCA posted higher than expected third-quarter core earnings on Friday, boosted by higher sales volumes, prices and cost cuts.
Operating profit before restructuring and other one-off costs at Europe’s biggest maker of hygiene products was 2.52 billion Swedish crowns ($394 million) against a mean forecast for 2.37 billion in a Reuters poll of analysts and a year-earlier 2.29 billion.
SCA’s Tissue unit, which makes up more than half of group sales and operating profit, reported an operating profit 10 percent higher than the average forecast. Forest Products, its smallest business area, also beat estimates.
SCA has increased focus in recent years on tissues and baby and adult diapers, for which it sees good long-term growth.
The firm, which is aiming to take control of China’s third-biggest tissue maker Vinda and bought Taiwan-based hygiene products firm Evergreen in 2012, is targeting Asia for growth due to rising demand for hygiene products as living standards rise.
This year, SCA shares are up 15 percent, outperforming the STOXX Europe 600 personal and household goods index, which is up 10 percent.
Link to full report: r.reuters.com/zaw83v
$1 = 6.3989 Swedish crowns Reporting by Sven Nordenstam; Editing by Mark Potter