March 15, 2011 / 10:30 PM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-First Quantum Q4 profit up, cuts copper output view

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March 15 (Reuters) - First Quantum Minerals’ fourth quarter net earnings nearly doubled on higher prices, but the copper and gold producer slashed its copper production outlook.

The Vancouver, British Columbia-based company lowered its full year copper production outlook to 300,000 tonnes from 305,000 tonnes earlier, and gold production outlook to 200,000 ounces from 210,000 ounces.

In October-December, the company posted net earnings attributable to shareholders of $455.3 million, or $5.61 a share, up from earnings of $227.2 million, or $2.91 a share, a year ago.

Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of $2.64 a share, on revenue of $664.8 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Comparative earnings were $1.90 a share, down from $2.58, a year ago.

Net sales rose about 9 percent to $700.8 million. Copper production fell 23 percent to 75,920 tons, while gold production was down 22.5 percent at 48,564 ounces.

Average realized copper price for the quarter was $3.51 a pounds, compared with $2.73 a year ago.

Shares of the company closed at C$113.71 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Arnika Thakur in Bangalore; Editing by Prem Udayabhanu)

arnika.thakur@thomsonreuter.comwithin U.S. +1 646 223 8780 outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800Reuters Messaging: arnika.thakur.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

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