Iamgold net profit climbs, but costs weigh

Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:11pm EST
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Iamgold Corp IAG.N IMG.TO reported an 8 percent increase in quarterly net profit on Thursday, driven largely by a sharp increase in the price of gold.

Net earnings in the fourth quarter ended December 31 rose to $133.6 million or 36 cents a share, up from a year-ago profit of $124.1 million or 33 cents a share.

However, adjusted earnings from continuing operations fell 9 percent in the quarter due to fewer ounces of gold sold and higher production costs. Cash costs in the quarter rose 20 percent to $643 per ounce.

"In 2012, our gold business will be focused on growth through expansion of our existing projects, the most extensive exploration program in the company's history and potential accretive acquisitions," Chief Executive Steve Letwin said in a statement.

The company said it produced 896,000 ounces from continuing operations in 2011 at average cash costs of $636 per ounce.

Iamgold said it expects 2012 gold production to be in the range of 840,000 to 910,000 ounces, at cash costs of between $670 and $695 per ounce.

Output in 2013 and 2014 will be between 1 million and 1.1 million ounces, with the increase coming primarily from the planned startup of Iamgold's Westwood mine in Canada.

(Reporting By Euan Rocha; editing by Rob Wilson)