Silver Wheaton profit falls, shares down

Mon May 13, 2013 10:37am EDT
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TORONTO May 13 (Reuters) - Shares of Silver Wheaton Corp fell more than 3 percent on Monday after first-quarter earnings came in slightly below expectations and the company changed its dividend policy to tie the payout to performance over a whole year.

Silver Wheaton reported a 9 percent drop in first-quarter profit late on Friday, as silver equivalent sales lagged production.

The Vancouver-based company, which helps finance mining projects in exchange for the right to buy future silver production at a set price, produced 8 million equivalent ounces, but sold just 6.9 million ounces due to delays in delivery.

The company also amended its dividend policy in an effort to smooth volatility. The quarterly dividend will now be based on a percentage of the average cash generated by operating activities in the previous four quarters, divided by all outstanding shares.

Net income was $133.4 million, or 37 cents a share, in the quarter ended March 31. That compared with $147.2 million, or 41 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Earnings came in just below the average analyst expectation of 38 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 3 percent to $205.8 million, as production increased 19 percent and sales rose 13 percent.

Silver Wheaton shares were down 3 percent at C$23.85 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday morning. The shares have fallen about 33 percent so far this year. (Reporting by Julie Gordon; editing by Janet Guttsman and Matthew Lewis)