Barrick Gold adjusted earnings top forecasts; shares rise

Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:12pm EDT
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By Nicole Mordant and John Tilak

VANCOUVER/TORONTO (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote), the world's largest gold producer, on Tuesday reported first-quarter adjusted earnings that rose sharply, topping market expectations, pushing its shares higher.

The bullion miner also received a boost as shareholders at its annual meeting resoundingly backed the company's executive compensation plan, in a major reversal from a year ago when it was overwhelmingly voted down.

Say-on-pay votes are not binding in Canada, but they are viewed as a key barometer of investor sentiment.

"There's evidence that the board has taken into account, belatedly, the feedback from shareholders," said David Anderson, CEO of executive advisory firm Anderson Leadership Group. "It's hard to give them unqualified praise as they were a little slow in getting it right."

Shares of Barrick, which lowered its cost forecasts for the year, rose 1 percent to C$20.70 in Toronto.

The Toronto-based miner reported adjusted earnings of 11 cents a share, up from 5 cents a year ago and ahead of analyst expectations of 10 cents, on average, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"Barrick's first-quarter earnings exceeded our expectations driven by impressive cost performance across its mine portfolio," said Sterne Agee analyst Michael Dudas, in a note to clients.

Barrick cut its forecast for all-in sustaining costs, the industry benchmark, for this year to a range of $760 to $810 per ounce from $775 to $825 before. It kept its gold production forecast unchanged at 5 million to 5.5 million ounces.   Continued...

Barrick Gold Corp Chairman of the board John Thornton speaks during their annual general meeting for shareholders in Toronto, April 28, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch