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UPDATE 1-Cronos posts surprise profit as marijuana sales soar in Canada

(Compares with estimates, adds details on results, background)

Aug 8 (Reuters) - Pot company Cronos Group reported a surprise quarterly profit on Thursday, benefiting from Canada's legalization of marijuana for recreational use late last year.

The company's cannabis sales were three times higher at 1,584 kilograms in the quarter, sending its U.S.-listed shares up 6.7% before the bell.

Pot producers, buoyed by higher sales in Canada, have been growing their toplines. However, investors have been worried of the nascent sector's spending on research and development and acquisitions, as the companies look to diversify into product lines and venture into new markets.

Cronos posted a more than four-fold rise in operating expenses during the quarter. The company recently launched a research center in Israel, acquired a fermentation facility and last week bought cannabidiol (CBD) beauty brand Lord Jones to expand its footprint in U.S.

Adjusted core loss widened to C$17.8 million ($13.37 million) for the second quarter ended June 30 from C$2.4 million a year earlier.

On a per share basis, the company posted a profit of 22 Canadian cents, while analysts had on average expected a loss of 3 Canadian cents, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Revenue rose three fold to C$10.24 million also beating estimates of C$7.40 million.

($1 = 1.3309 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Taru Jain in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D'Silva)