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Feb 6 (Reuters) - Canadian uranium producer Cameco Corp reported on Friday a 14 percent increase in quarterly earnings, helped by higher uranium prices.
Cameco's average realized uranium price rose 6 percent to $50.57 per lb in the quarter.
The 2011 Fukushima meltdown in Japan led to shutdowns of all of the country's nuclear reactors, depressing the radioactive metal's price. The sector got a boost in late 2014 as Japan moved toward re-starting some reactors, but the spot price has since pulled back to around $38 per lb as of Thursday.
Cameco, which owns the world's largest-producing uranium mine at McArthur River, Saskatchewan, said it expects total production of 25.3 million to 26.3 million lbs of uranium in 2015, up from 23.3 million lbs produced last year.
The company expects uranium sales to range from 31 million to 33 million lbs in 2015, compared with 33.9 million lbs produced in 2014.
This would lead to a fall in overall revenue of up to 5 percent.
A 16 percent drop in fourth-quarter uranium sales also weighed on the company's quarterly revenue, which fell 9 percent to C$889 million ($709.78 million).
Higher realized uranium prices and about a 10 percent drop in average unit cost of sales for the metal during the quarter helped push the fourth quarter earnings up 14 percent to C$73 million.
Adjusted earnings were 52 Canadian cents a share, above analysts' average estimate of 29 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Cameco's shares ended at C$18.89 on Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ($1 = 1.2525 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Kanika Sikka in Bengaluru and Rod Nickel in Toronto; Editing by Leslie Adler and Ken Wills)