Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co.'s first-quarter earnings more than doubled as a pick-up in the economy boosted both sales volume and prices.

The Los Angeles metals processor on Thursday reported net income of $92.3 million ($1.23 per share), compared with $44.7 million (60 cents) a year earlier. Sales increased 32 percent to $1.91 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expected per-share profit of $1.07 on revenue of $1.84 billion.

Reliance, which buys metal from manufacturers and processes it for specific industry uses, said it saw most growth from customers in such industries as oil and gas, farm, mining, transportation and general manufacturing. Demand remains the weakest for carbon steel structural products used primarily in non-residential construction.

“Our sales and earnings … were better than we originally expected primarily because pricing for all of our products increased during the quarter more than we had anticipated, which had a positive impact on both our gross profit margins and volume sold,” Chief Executive David H. Hannah said in a statement.

Hannah said prices for the metals his company sells continue to fluctuate and he expects this to continue through the current quarter, resulting in overall steady to slightly lower prices for Reliance’s products. The company expects second quarter earnings per share in a range of $1.20 to $1.30.

Shares closed up 14 cents, or less than 1 percent , to $56.81 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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