Cameco cuts costs as uranium prices slump, misses view

Thu Aug 1, 2013 9:51am EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Canada's Cameco Corp (CCO.TO: Quote), one of the world's biggest uranium producers, reported higher quarterly profit on Thursday, but said it planned to cut costs as prices struggled due to reduced demand for nuclear fuel.

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company also reported higher quarterly revenue. Both profit and revenue were lower than expected.

Shares rose fell 0.7 percent in New York to $20.18 and 0.5 percent to C$20.76 in Toronto in early trading.

Uranium prices have been weak since an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan in March 2011, crippling the Fukushima-Daiichi atomic power plant, and leading Japan to shut down nearly all of its reactors.

Four utilities have applied to restart 12 of Japan's 48 idled reactors, Cameco said.

Cameco Chief Executive Tim Gitzel said the company planned to cut costs by 10 percent to boost profits and would target administration, operations and capital. The company has already cut its workforce by 8 percent, it said.

With the cuts, the company will incur C$13 million in restructuring costs against this year's results.

But Cameco also said its share of the total capital cost for the Cigar Lake, Saskatchewan, mine would increase by 15 percent to 25 percent from the previous estimate of C$1.1 billion. The mine, in which Areva SA (AREVA.PA: Quote) also owns a major stake, is on course to begin production later this year.   Continued...