UPDATE 1-Paragon Shipping Q1 profit beats Street; shares soar

* Q1 EPS, ex-times $0.54 vs est $0.49

* Q1 time charter revenue up marginally

* Says has 98 pct revenue days covered for 2009

* Shares up 26 pct in after-hours trading May 19 (Reuters) - Shipping transportation company Paragon Shipping Inc PRGN.O reported a 21 percent jump in first-quarter profit that beat expectations, sending its shares up 26 percent in after-hours trading.

Shares of the company touched a high of $5.98 in trading after the bell. They had closed at $4.74 Tuesday on Nasdaq.

“Our performance was largely driven by the benefits of our balanced chartering strategy and strong cost management performance,” Chief Executive Michael Bodouroglou said.

Paragon, which specializes in dry bulk cargoes reported quarterly net income of $19.2 million, or 71 cents a share, up from $15.8 million, 59 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding 14 cents in non-cash revenue and depreciation expense, a 3 cent unrealized gain from interest rate swaps and other non-cash expenses, the company earned 54 cents a share.

Time charter revenue rose 3 percent to $41.6 million. Paragon said it has 98 percent of its revenue days covered for 2009.

For the alerts, double-click [ID:nWNAB1591] (Reporting by Shradhha Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D’Silva)