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UPDATE 1-Maple Leaf Foods posts higher-than-expected profit

(Adds details, estimates)

April 27 Meat-packaging company Maple Leaf Foods Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, driven by increased retail sales in Canada and higher exports.

The Canada-based company, whose brands include Schneiders and namesake Maple Leaf, said adjusted operating earnings rose 10 percent to C$59 million ($43 million) in the first quarter ended March 31.

Maple Leaf, which is Canada's biggest pork processor, is on a hunt for acquisitions in the United States, after years spent upgrading old factories and shedding business lines.

In February, the company bought U.S.-based Lightlife Foods Inc, a manufacturer of plant-based protein foods, for $140 million, Maple Leaf's first material deal since 2004.

The company said on Thursday its net earnings fell 28.8 percent to C$30.1 million, or 22 Canadian cents per share, from a year earlier, hurt by restructuring charges.

On an adjusted basis, Maple Leaf earned 33 Canadian cents per share, beating analysts' average estimate by 3 Canadian cents.

The company's sales rose 1.8 percent to C$811.2 million.

($1 = C$1.36) (Reporting by Ahmed Farhatha in Bengaluru; Editing by Robin Paxton and Maju Samuel)

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