UPDATE 1-Poland's KGHM targets lower output after record 2015 loss

Thu Mar 17, 2016 1:51pm EDT
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WARSAW, March 17 (Reuters) - Europe's second biggest copper producer, Poland's state-run KGHM, signalled on Thursday plans to cut its copper output this year after writedowns pushed its 2015 net loss higher than expected.

The miner posted a record loss of 5.01 billion zlotys ($1.3 billion) at the group level and 2.8 billion loss for the parent company, from which KGHM pays dividends. Analysts had expected losses of 4.81 billion and 2.29 billion respectively.

Earlier this year, the company reported writedowns of $1.3 billion on its foreign assets due to falling metal prices, with the largest drag coming from its main overseas mine Sierra Gorda in Chile.

KGHM, which underwent a management reshuffle this year, expects 2016 copper prices to fall further and average $5,000 per tonne compared with $5,495 last year, and expects its full-year output to fall 9 percent to 525,400 tonnes.

The company, which is also the world's largest silver miner, had planned to almost double its copper output to more than 1 million tonnes a year by 2020, but signalled a revision of its plans and its foreign assets after worries about Chinese demand battered metals prices.

Copper has regained some ground this year and is trading at about $5,000 a tonne.

KGHM shares have risen 13.5 percent so far this year. They still has some way to go to make up for their 42 percent fall in 2015, the year it launched commercial production at the Sierra Gorda mine it co-owns with Japan's Sumitomo .

The miner plans to investment 4.02 billion zlotys in 2016 slightly higher than the 3.91 billion spent in 2015.

($1 = 3.7678 zlotys) (Reporting by Adrian Krajewski; editing by David Clarke)