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(Updates with shares)
SAO PAULO, May 5 (Reuters) - Shares of Brazil steelmaker Gerdau SA surged more than 5% on Wednesday, after the company reported a net income of 2.5 billion reais ($459.22 million), much higher than a year ago, due to higher metal prices and favorable currency rates.
While profit grew more than ten-fold and revenue grew 77%, steel production fell 1% and steel sales grew only 15% to 3 million tonnes.
BTG Pactual said in a note to clients the results were "simply stellar."
"This whopping beat was driven mainly by higher prices in Brazil," it said.
Gerdau said there were positive trends at its Brazil unit, with revenue more than doubling compared to a year ago and displacing the North America unit, which in the first quarter of 2020 was the company's largest by revenue.
Production rose by 4% in Brazil but fell 7% in North America, which Gerdau attributed to lower demand. Gerdau said the main boost to its North America revenue compared to a year ago was the appreciation of the dollar against the real.
($1 = 5.4440 reais) (Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun, Editing by Bernadette Baum)