* EBIT ex items 3.22 bln SEK vs consensus 3.10 bln
* Stronger dollar raised pulp costs
* Raised Europe tissue prices with gradual effect H2
* Shares rise 4 pct, hit all-time-high (Adds detail, background)
By Anna Ringstrom
STOCKHOLM, July 16 (Reuters) - Swedish hygiene products firm SCA posted a bigger rise than expected in quarterly core profit on Thursday as savings and strong organic sales outweighed higher pulp costs due to the stronger dollar.
The world’s second-biggest tissue maker and biggest incontinence pad producer said it had raised prices for consumer tissue in Europe in the quarter, with gradual effect in the second half of the year.
Its shares rose to record highs on the news, up 4 percent at 1026 GMT, taking a year-to-date rise to 41 percent.
Second-quarter operating profit before restructuring and other one-off costs rose to 3.22 billion crowns ($378 million), from a year-ago 2.93 billion, against a mean forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts for 3.10 billion.
SCA said raw material costs, which have weighed on results in recent quarters, grew by 435 million crowns in the quarter.
Analysts have estimated the rise in raw material costs most likely peaked in the second quarter and expect lower such costs along with tissue price hikes to boost SCA’s margins during the rest of the year.
Organic sales growth was 5 percent in local currencies. In the first quarter organic sales growth was 6 percent, which Chief Executive Magnus Groth has said was very high.
SCA, which is present in around 100 countries and has the bulk of its business in Europe, also said it would build a new incontinence products factory in Brazil. Groth said in June the company plans to focus on fewer emerging markets including China, India, Russia and Brazil.
$1 = 8.5195 Swedish crowns Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; editing by Niklas Pollard