UPDATE 1-Astrotech explores strategic alternatives, shares rise

* Explores strategic alternatives, including possible sale * Q4 EPS $0.15 vs loss of $0.11/shr a year ago * Shares rise 75 pct in trading after the bell

Sept 28 (Reuters) - Astrotech Corp ASTC.O, which owns and operates spacecraft pre-launch facilities, said it is exploring strategic alternatives, including a possible sale, sending its shares up as much as 75 percent.

The company, which also reported a fourth-quarter profit, said its board appointed investment banking firm Lazard Ltd to advise it in the process.

The range of alternatives which may be considered could include strategic acquisitions, a sale of some or all of the company’s assets or a variety of other possible transactions, the company said in a statement.

For the fourth quarter ended June 30, the company reported earnings of $2.6 million, or 15 cents a share, compared with a loss of $1.5 million, or 11 cents a share in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose more than 70 percent to $10.4 million.

Shares of the company were up at $2.10 in trading after the bell. They closed at $1.20 Monday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Bijoy Koyitty in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)