UPDATE 1-Tenaris shares drop 8% after heavy fall in Q1 profits

(Adds shares, trader)

April 29 (Reuters) - Tenaris’ Milan-listed shares fell as much as 8% on Thursday after the steel pipe giant posted a bigger-than-expected 30% fall in first-quarter core profits as a sales recovery in North America was tempered by weakness in Latin America.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in the January-March period fell from a year earlier to $196 million, compared with a $212 million analyst consensus, according to a Refinitiv SmartEstimate.

First-quarter EBITDA included severance charges of $5 million, the company added in a statement issued late on Wednesday.

“The market didn’t like the higher-than-expected EBITDA drop,” a Milan based trader said.

Tenaris shares were 7.3% lower by 1033 GMT, making it the biggest loser on Milan’s blue-chip index, which was up 0.2%.

The Luxembourg-based group, which makes seamless and welded steel pipes for oil and gas exploration activities said earnings were gradually improving quarter-on-quarter, with EBITDA rising 2% in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2020.

Tenaris said it expects further recovery in sales and earnings over the coming quarters, led by North America but also from other regions.

It forecast EBITDA margins of around 20% by the third quarter - from 16.6% in January-March as price increases compensate for higher raw material costs.

Intesa Sanpaolo analysts said there was a “slight delay” in the margin guidance given Tenaris had previously expected to reach it in the second quarter.

Reporting by Rita Plantera; additional reporting by Giancarlo Navach; Editing by Kirsten Donovan