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VIENNA, May 16 (Reuters) - Austrian fibre-maker Lenzing's first-quarter net profit almost doubled compared with last year to 75 million euros ($82 million), helped by higher prices, surpassing the average estimate in a Reuters poll of analysts.
"Assuming that fiber market conditions remain at current levels, we expect a substantial earnings improvement this year," Chief Executive Stefan Doboczky, who is pushing the group to focus on high-margin special fibres, said on Tuesday.
Lenzing is also expanding its production capacities for its Tencel fibres, saying its site in Alabama will be finished in the first quarter of 2019 and that it was considering potential sites for a further plant in Asia.
$1 = 0.9098 euros Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath