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MRC’s earnings jump as sales fall in first qtr.

Keywords: Tags  MRC Global, earnings report, Andrew Lane, pipe distributor, OCTG, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — MRC Global Inc. posted net income of $46.18 million during the first quarter, 23 percent higher than $37.53 million in the same period last year despite a 5.6-percent decline in sales to $1.31 billion.

"The industry-wide slowdown we saw in the fourth quarter continued into the first two months of this year, particularly in the upstream and midstream sectors, resulting in lower revenues compared to our strong first quarter a year ago," chairman, president and chief executive officer Andrew R. Lane said in MRC’s earnings report.

Profitability improved mainly due to the company’s move away from the lower-margin oil country tubular goods (OCTG) market (, Feb. 25). "Our strategy to focus on our higher-margin product lines and reduce exposure to our OCTG business has proven timely, given the sluggish drilling rig activity in the U.S.," Lane said.

The Houston-based company expects full-year revenue of between $5.75 billion and $5.95 billion and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) of $480 million to $510 million.

MRC is the largest global distributor of pipe, valves and fittings and related products and services to the energy and industrial sectors, according to its website.

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