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Feb 22 (Reuters) - Natural-gas distributor Nicor Inc GAS.N posted a quarterly profit that beat market estimates, but forecast lower-than-expected 2008 earnings as it expects results to be hit by weak demand at its gas distribution unit.
Nicor posted preliminary fourth-quarter net income of $55.5 million, or $1.22 a share, compared with $58.3 million, or $1.29 a share, a year ago.
Analysts on average expected earnings of $1.10 a share, before special items, according to Reuters Estimates.
The company expects to earn $2.20 a share to $2.40 a share for 2008, while analysts expect a profit of $2.82 a share.
Shares of the company closed at $37.40 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Manish Gupta in Bangalore; Editing by Pratish Narayanan)