Barrick earnings climb but miner keeps lid on costs
By Susan Taylor
TORONTO (Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote), the world's largest producer of bullion, reported a bigger quarterly profit on Wednesday, reflecting higher gold prices and lower costs, while cutting its 2016 production costs and lifting its output.
Toronto-based Barrick, which has been selling off non-core assets and using cash flow to pay down debt, said profits were lifted by lower fuel and energy costs, smaller exploration and project spending, foreign exchange gains and the sale of higher-cost mines.
Debt has been reduced by $1.4 billion year-to-date and the company said it is on track to meet its 2016 reduction target of $2 billion. In three to five years, it wants to reduce its $8.5 billion debt to below $5 billion.
Barrick reported adjusted earnings of 24 cents per share in the three months to end-September compared with 11 cents per share in the same period last year. Analysts on average expected earnings of 20 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
With mines in the Americas, Australia and Africa, Barrick increased its 2016 production forecast to a range of 5.25 million to 5.55 million ounces of gold, from a previous target of 5.00-5.50 million.
Barrick also lowered its estimate of all-in sustaining costs to produce an ounce of gold to a range of $740 to $775 from a previous target of $750-$790. Capital spending for 2016 is also forecast lower, at $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion, down from $1.25-$1.4 billion in the second quarter.
Third-quarter gold production declined to 1.38 million ounces from 1.66 million ounces, while all-in sustaining costs improved to $704 an ounce from $771. Copper output fell to 100 million pounds from 140 million pounds.
Revenue dipped to $2.3 billion from $2.32 billion, while free cash flow fell to $674 million from $866 million. Continued...