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RIO DE JANEIRO, May 6 (Reuters) - Brazil's CSN reported a first-quarter net profit of 392 million reais ($128.5 million) on Wednesday, defying analyst expectations of a loss, as the steelmaker successfully cut costs and increased revenue.
A Reuters poll of analysts had forecast a net loss of 827 million reais for the period. Quarterly profit at the company, formally known as Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional SA, was more than seven times that of the same period last year.
Shares in CSN rose more than 2 percent in early trade in Sao Paulo as a result.
The company posted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 911 million reais from revenue of 4 billion reais.
CSN, along with other Brazilian steelmakers, is struggling with weak domestic demand as the economy slows. As a significant producer of iron ore, the company is also feeling the brunt of weak prices for the main steel-making ingredient, which languished near their lowest in a decade during the quarter.
In a bid to offset the domestic slump, CSN has looked to increase sales abroad. During the first quarter, sales of steel outside Brazil rose 36 percent compared to the previous quarter, reaching 526,000 tonnes.
This helped total sales of steel to increase 12 percent on the previous quarter to 1.4 million tonnes.
($1 = 3.05 reais)
Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer and Walter Brandimarte; Editing by Andrea Ricci