UPDATE 2-Canada's Teck quarterly profit boosted by robust copper business

(Adds details from earnings release, Refinitiv I/B/E/S comparison)

Feb 18 (Reuters) - Canada’s Teck Resources on Thursday reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, powered by a buoyant copper business on higher prices of the metal.

Average realized price for copper jumped about 26% to $3.42 per pound, while sales stood at 80,000 tonnes compared with 75,000 tonnes a year earlier.

Gross profit at the business nearly tripled to C$368 million ($289.8 million) in the fourth quarter.

Copper sales for 2021 are expected at 275,000 tonnes to 290,000 tonnes, compared with 277,000 tonnes a year earlier, the company said.

The company, however, reported lower profit in its crucial steelmaking coal business, which has been pressured by the pandemic-induced fallout.

Average realized prices for the commodity were down over 18% in the fourth quarter, with sales of 6.1 million tonnes, compared to 6.3 million tonnes a year earlier, Teck said.

Steelmaking coal sales are expected to between 5.9 million tonnes and 6.3 million tonnes in the first quarter, higher than the 5.7 million tonnes sold in the same period of 2020.

Teck said it had met its year-end target of about 40% construction work at its Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 copper mine in Chile, which it had suspended in March and started ramping up since the third quarter.

Adjusted profit attributable to shareholders rose over 11% to C$248 million ($195.3 million), or 46 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter.

Analysts had expected a profit of 35 Canadian cents, according to Refinitiv I/B/E/S data. ($1 = 1.2697 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Arathy Nair, Ann Maria Shibu and Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Sriraj Kalluvila)