March 3, 2011 / 10:50 PM / in 7 years

REFILE-UPDATE 2-Silver Wheaton's maiden div adds to Q4 profit glitter

* Q4 EPS $0.35 vs $0.15 a year ago

* Q4 rev up 65 pct

* Declares div of $0.03/shr (In U.S. dollars unless noted) (Refiles to fix typo in para 2)

March 3 (Reuters) - Silver Wheaton declared its maiden dividend, while its quarterly profit beat analysts estimates, boosted by higher bullion prices.

The company, which had over $428 million of cash as on 2010 end, declared a dividend of 3 cents a share, payable on March 31, to shareholders of record March 21. The company had said in November it might start issuing a small dividend in early 2011.

Vancouver-based Silver Wheaton, which buys silver by-product from other miners and then resells it, reported October-December quarter earnings of $123 million, or 35 cents a share, up from $50.8 million, or 15 cents a share, last year. Analysts on average were expecting the company to earn 30 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Silver Wheaton, which emerged as a $15 billion company since it was formed seven years ago, currently has 15 silver purchase agreements with firms like Goldcorp , Barrick Gold and Primero Mining .

Sales rose to $149.6 million from $90.5 million in 2009, but trailed consensus estimates of $153 million.

Silver prices have soared as the global financial crisis boosted interest in precious metals as a haven from risk, rising 83 percent last year to its highest since 1980, and tripled between September 2008 and January’s high.

Attributable silver equivalent production rose 10 percent to 6.3 million ounces and average silver prices over period rose by 50 percent.

Silver Wheaton pays miners about $4 per ounce up front to build projects, usually gold mines, in exchange for the silver by-product produced from those mines.

Silver Wheaton generates more than 90 percent of its revenue from silver and the rest from gold.

With spot silver currently hovering around $34 an ounce, the profits are high.

Silver Wheaton shares closed at C$42.50 on Thursday on Toronto Stock Exchange. They have more than doubled in the last one year. (Reporting by Aftab Ahmed in Bangalore; Editing by Prem Udayabhanu)

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