TORONTO (Reuters) - Kinross Gold (K.TO) is scouting for acquisition opportunities but vows it will be disciplined and only strike a deal if it offers value to shareholders, the Canadian gold miner’s chief executive said on Tuesday.
“On the external front, we are looking like everyone else is,” Paul Rollinson said in an interview. “But at the end of the day we will be disciplined.”
The CEO spoke as the Toronto-based company reported results that edged past expectations.
Investors have punished Kinross for a risky deal in 2010 that eventually soured badly. In March, the company settled a lawsuit that had accused it of defrauding investors by making a bet on Red Back Mining and its Tasiast mine in Mauritania that has led to over $6 billion in writedowns.
Its share price has fallen nearly 90 percent since the time the Red Back deal closed in September 2010.
Despite this, Kinross, whose assets include operations in Russia, Brazil and the United States, among other countries, is once again scouting for assets with an eye to future growth.
Kinross is widely viewed as one of the front runners in the race to acquire AngloGold Ashanti Ltd’s (ANGJ.J) Cripple Creek gold mine in Colorado.
Analysts and industry insiders also see Kinross as a likely bidder for AuriCo Gold Inc AUQ.TO, which owns the Young-Davidson mine in Northern Ontario. AuRico last month agreed to a friendly deal with rival Alamos Gold Inc (AGI.TO), but Kinross, along with rivals Iamgold Corp (IMG.TO) and others, are widely expected to put forward counter proposals.
Rollinson declined to comment on either process but said he sees Canada as an attractive prospect. “We love Canada, we don’t have an operation in Canada and we’d love to have an asset in Canada,” he said.
Canadian gold projects once shunned by miners in favor of more alluring opportunities overseas are regaining their sheen, as a weaker currency, new tax breaks and greater security are luring miners back home.
Excluding onetime foreign exchange losses, Kinross reported quarterly earnings of $15.3 million, or 1 cent a share. On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected the company to break even.
Quarterly revenue in the first quarter was $781.4 million, down 4.4 percent, due to a lower average realized gold price.
Kinross reiterated its full-year production and cost outlook. It expects operations at its Maricunga mine in northern Chile to resume in June after heavy rains halted work there in late March.
Additional reporting by Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Jonathan Oatis