May 8, 2014 / 1:15 PM / in 4 years

Brazil's Braskem posts 70 percent jump in quarterly profit

SAO PAULO, May 8 (Reuters) - Brazil’s Braskem SA, Latin America’s largest petrochemical company, posted a 70 percent jump in first-quarter profit on Thursday, boosted by asset sales, a more favorable currency and cheaper feedstock.

Net income rose from a year earlier to 396 million reais ($178 million), the best quarterly result in nearly three years.

Brazil’s currency, the real, weakened more than 10 percent in the 12 months through March, boosting the profitability of the country’s industrial exporters.

The more favorable exchange rate and recovering demand in foreign markets lifted net revenue 25 percent from a year ago. Lower costs for Braskem’s main feedstock, naphtha, improved profit margins for the company’s main petrochemical products.

Braskem sold a water treatment plant in January to another unit of controlling shareholder Odebrecht, Brazil’s biggest industrial conglomerate, for a gain of 277 million reais.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 75 percent to 1.635 billion reais. ($1 = 2.23 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Brad Haynes and Roberta Vilas Boas Editing by W Simon)

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