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SAO PAULO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Brazilian meats processor BRF SA on Thursday reported quarterly earnings that rose nearly fivefold, beating expectations, helped by rising domestic sales.
The company, also the world's largest chicken exporter, posted fourth-quarter net income of 991 million reais ($341.7 million), beating estimates in a Reuters poll of 807.2 million reais.
BRF posted a profit of 208 million reais in the year-ago quarter and 624 million reais in the third quarter of 2014.
"The highlights were a growth of volumes in Brazil and in Food Services and the improvement in average prices in the international market," BRF said in a filing detailing earnings for the October to December period.
Total sales in Brazil rose 11.7 percent by value in the quarter and 9.1 percent by volume.
BRF also highlighted its strategy of cutting volumes sold abroad to improve margins.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 126 percent from a year ago to 1.76 billion reais, beatings expectations for EBITDA of $1.54 billion reais.
The company's consolidated net income in 2014 was 2.2 billion reais, more than doubling from 2013.
$1 = 2.9 reais Reporting by Reese Ewing and Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Alan Crosby and Christian Plumb