UPDATE 2-Canada's Sherritt slashes dividend after bigger quarterly loss
By Ashutosh Pandey
Feb 19 (Reuters) - Canadian miner Sherritt International Corp reported a bigger fourth-quarter loss as it took an impairment charge related to the pending sale of its coal operations, and the company slashed its quarterly dividend.
Sherritt's shares fell as much as 12 percent in morning trading on Wednesday, making them one of the top percentage losers on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The company, once Canada's biggest thermal coal producer, said in December it would sell its coal business for C$946 million ($857 million) to focus on nickel and oil after years of weak demand and prices.
Sherritt, which expects to finalize the sale of the mines in the current quarter, recorded a related impairment charge of C$466.8 million for the fourth quarter.
The company said it cut its quarterly dividend to 1 Canadian cent per share from 4.3 Canadian cents to help it meet near-term funding requirements in the face of persistently low commodity prices.
The dividend cut will reduce the annual payout by about C$39 million in 2014, the company said. Sherritt said it also planned to another C$33 million in costs this year.
"We continue to look to cut spending across our businesses in both our corporate office and our business units ... We are also looking at the way we procure commodities to further reduce our costs," Chief Executive David Pathe told Reuters. Continued...