(Reuters) - Canadian uranium producer Cameco Corp (CCO.TO) CCJ.N on Wednesday reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, largely helped by a jump in uranium sales volumes.
Cameco’s uranium sales rose 35 percent to 9.3 million pounds in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, while its average realized uranium price fell 0.6 percent to $43.37 per pound.
Chief Executive Tim Gitzel said though uranium prices are at the lowest levels in more than a decade, the company’s average realized prices were well above the market price thanks to its portfolio of long-term contracts.
However, Cameco warned that the uranium market would remain depressed until Japan’s nuclear reactors are restarted and excess supply is depleted, among other things.
The 2011 Fukushima meltdown led to shutdowns of all of Japan’s nuclear reactors, depressing the radioactive metal’s price. Some reactors have since come back online, but global uranium inventories remain high.
Cameco reported a net profit of C$142 million, or 36 Canadian cents per share, attributable to equity holders in the quarter, compared with a loss of C$4 million, or 1 Canadian cent per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 30 Canadian cents per share, beating the average analyst estimate of 28 Canadian cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 3.2 percent to C$670 million, beating analysts’ expectation of C$654.9 million.
($1 = 1.34 Canadian dollars)
Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Martina D'Couto