February 24, 2012 / 12:52 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Eldorado profit surges on strong gold prices

TORONTO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Canada’s Eldorado Gold reported a more than 50 percent increase in its 2011 earnings from operations on Friday, largely driven by increased bullion sales and higher realized prices.

Vancouver, British Columbia-based Eldorado, which is in the process of wrapping up a C$2.5 billion takeover of its smaller rival European Goldfields, said gold sales volumes rose 3 percent and its average realized gold price increased nearly 30 percent to $1,581 an ounce.

That helped propel earnings from its gold mining operations to $610.8 million, up from $400.7 million, a year earlier.

On a net basis, profits attributable to shareholders in the year were $318.7 million or 58 cents a share. That compared with a profit of $221 million or 40 cents, in 2010.

Eldorado, which produced 658,652 ounces of gold in 2011, sees gold output this year ranging between 730,000 and 775,000 ounces.

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