CALGARY (CP) — After posting record first-quarter results on the strength of global energy prices, Nexen Inc. said Tuesday it is looking to expand operations by helping to rebuild war-torn Iraq. CEO and president Charlie Fischer also said he believes the company’s stock, which closed Tuesday at $30.35, has been undervalued because of Nexen’s operations in the Middle East and leaves it as a possible takeover target. ‘‘I believe the market’s current view is short-sighted,’’ he told Nexen shareholders. ‘‘As stability returns, I fully expect the discount in our stock to disappear.’’ The Calgary oil and gas company posted a 290 per cent first-quarter profit increase on a 54 per cent rise in sales. Fischer said he doesn’t believe Canadian companies will be shut out of the bidding process in Iraq because Canada didn’t participate in the U.S.-led war on Saddam Hussein. And he says Nexen is well-positioned to benefit as the country rebuilds. ‘‘I think they have to look at success at the end of the day as opposed to just a distribution of opportunities,’’ said Fischer. Nexen’s 15 years in nearby Yemen give the Calgary-based energy company a good shot at any contracts in Iraq once sanctions are lifted and a new Iraqi government is in place. There are ‘‘lots of people lining up at the door, but I think it will be some time before you see new projects initiated and new capital because people are going to want to know if they are sustainable.’’ Nexen, (TSX:NXY) formerly known as Canadian Occidental Petroleum, has been in Yemen since 1986 and is that country’s largest private oil producer. Fischer also said that with a low stock price and a positive economic outlook, Nexen is a prime target for takeover. ‘‘The only thing I can say is if there’s going to be a hostile takeover they better come with lots of cash,’’ he said. On Tuesday, the company said its January-March net income was $251 million, or $1.95 per share, up from $65 million, or 44 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Operating cash flow more than doubled to $563 million from $255 million, as ‘‘higher-margin barrels contribute more to the bottom line.’’ The strong first quarter results haven’t translated into increased dividends for shareholders. ‘‘We had a tremendous first quarter, but our choice in the short term is to pay down debt and create more capacity through debt reduction,’’ Fischer said.