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UPDATE 1-Canadian Solar eyes 2013 profit as power plant push pays off

* Estimates 4th-qtr revenue of $510-$520 mln vs est. $556 mln

* Expects to post fourth-quarter profit

* Shares up 2 pct before the bell

Feb 11 (Reuters) - Canadian Solar Inc estimated 2013 would be its first profitable year since 2010 as its strategy of building high- margin solar power plants pays off.

The company's shares rose nearly 2 percent to $39.80 in premarket trading.

Canadian Solar estimated it would post a profit in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, its second straight quarterly profit after nine quarters of losses.

The company estimated quarterly gross margins of 16-18 percent. That was higher than its forecast of 13-15 percent, which did not include the sale of a solar project in Ontario, Canada.

However, the company warned that its profitability could be hurt if it got an unfavorable ruling in case over a contract dispute with LDK Solar Co Ltd.

The dispute stems from a wafer supply contract the companies entered into in October 2007 and June 2008, and subsequently terminated.

Canadian Solar, most of whose manufacturing operations are in China, has made a big push into building solar power plans to cut its dependence on the hyper competitive business of selling panels and other solar products.

Still, weak prices for solar products continue to weigh on the Guelph, Ontario-based company.

The company estimated that fourth-quarter revenue of $510 million-$520 million, well below analysts' estimates of $556 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Canadian Solar estimated that it shipped between 605 megawatt (MW) and 620 MW of solar panels in the quarter, higher than its target of 480-500 MW.

The company's stock rose eightfold in the past year, making it one of the best performers in the solar industry. The shares closed at $39.12 on Monday on the Nasdaq.

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