UPDATE 2-Goldcorp beats forecasts, sees strong year ahead

Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:03pm EST
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* Adj Q4 EPS $0.57 vs Street view $0.54

* Revenue down 5 percent to $1.4 billion

* CEO says growth projects advancing well

By Julie Gordon

TORONTO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Goldcorp Inc, Canada's second largest gold producer, booked a lower-than-expected drop in adjusted quarterly profit on Thursday and said improved peformance at two key mines positioned it for a strong year.

Goldcorp, which in January slashed its 2013 production forecast and increased development costs at growth projects, said fourth-quarter output benefited from a strong performance at its Penasquito gold mine in Mexico and its Red Lake gold mine in Canada. Both mines had struggled with operational issues earlier in 2012.

The Vancouver-based miner is pushing ahead with three major new mines, a different approach to that of its main rival, Barrick Gold Corp, which on Thursday booked a multi-billion dollar charge on a growth project and said it has no immediate plans to build any more mines.

Net earnings were $504 million, or 62 cents a share, in the quarter ended December 31, below $405 million, or 50 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Adjusted to remove one-time items, profit fell to $465 million, or 57 cents a share as costs rose and sales shrank, but the result was still ahead of the average analyst estimate of 54 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.   Continued...