Cameco outlook sours amid doubts on nuclear's future

Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:51am EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Uranium producer Cameco (CCO.TO: Quote) forecast lower sales and highlighted doubts about the take-up of nuclear power in its stronger than expected quarterly results, and its shares edged lower on Friday, in line with the overall market.

Shares of Canada's top uranium producer rose at market open on the Toronto Stock Exchange, but were down 1 percent at C$23.12 by mid-morning after the company warned 2012 revenue could fall by as much as 5 percent on lower sales volumes in its fuel services business and lower realized uranium prices.

The overall market was down just over 1 percent.

On the positive side, the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based uranium producer reported a 29 percent increase in quarterly earnings and a 45 percent boost in revenues, late on Thursday.

Cameco's per share adjusted profit of 63 Canadian cents handily beat analysts average estimate of 46 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Quarterly sales volumes hit their highest level since the fourth quarter of 2005, with full-year sales heavily weighed to the final quarter.

But Cameco, the world's No.1 publicly-listed uranium producer, also lowered its 2012 uranium production outlook by 3 percent to 21.7 million pounds and said delays and cancellations after last year's Fukushima nuclear disaster could hit prices.

Germany, which represents about 5 percent of the global market for uranium, plans to phase out its reactors by 2022.

Japan shut down most of its reactors for testing after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, and is expected to take its remaining three reactors offline for maintenance in the next few months.   Continued...