February 17, 2016 / 10:15 PM / 3 years ago

Barrick Gold aims to cut at least $2 billion in debt this year (Feb. 17)

(The story headline and paragraph 1 were corrected to say company set production and debt-reduction targets for 2016, not cut forecast and costs)

Barrick Gold Corp Chairman of the board John Thornton speaks during their annual general meeting for shareholders in Toronto, April 28, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

(Reuters) - Barrick Gold Corp ABX.N (ABX.TO), the world’s largest gold producer, on Wednesday forecast 2016 gold production of 5.0-5.5 million ounces and a debt reduction target of at least $2 billion for the year.

The company, which produced 6.12 million ounces in 2015, expects all-in sustaining costs of $775-$825 per ounce for the year, largely lower than $831 per ounce a year earlier.

The Toronto, Ontario-based miner, which has one of the highest debt loads of any gold miner, has been selling its non-core assets in order to reduce debt. It said in January it had met its $3 billion debt-reduction target.

Capital expenditures for 2016 were forecast at $1.35 billion-$1.65 billion, compared with 2015 capital expenditures of $1.51 billion.

Gold XAU= GCv1 has been hit by a slowdown in China’s growth, the world’s top consumer, a global supply glut and a strong dollar .DXY.

The company also reported higher-than-expected quarterly profits as sale of its non-core assets helped offset the dip in gold prices.

Net loss attributable to Barrick was $2.62 billion, or $2.25 per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $2.85 billion, or $2.45 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, it reported a profit of 8 cents per share, bigger than the average analysts’ estimate of 6 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell about 11 percent to $2.24 billion.

Reporting by Manish Parashar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Alan Crosby

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