March 23, 2012 / 12:05 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 2-Silver Wheaton profit up on higher silver prices

* Q4 EPS $0.41 vs $0.35 last yr

* Q4 revenue up 28 pct to $191.9 mln

* Sees 2012 production up 6 pct

March 22 (Reuters) - Silver Wheaton reported on Thursday a 20 percent rise in profit, helped by increased selling prices of silver and gold.

Vancouver-based Silver Wheaton expects a 6 percent increase in its 2012 attributable production to about 27 million silver equivalent ounces, including 16,500 ounces of gold.

Fourth-quarter earnings rose to $144.7 million, or 41 cents a share. That compared to adjusted earnings of $120.7 million, or 35 cents a share in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue rose 28 percent to $191.9 million, as the mining company sold 5.8 million ounces of silver.

Silver Wheaton, the world’s largest silver stream company, pays miners a lump sum upfront to secure the right to buy silver by-product at the time of production for a set price, usually just over $4 per ounce.

The company has deals in place with many top miners, including Barrick Gold and Goldcorp. Silver Wheaton’s attributable production in 2011 was 25.4 million ounces at an average cost of $4.09 per ounce.

The company, which had $840.2 million cash on hand as of the end of 2011, said its strategy of acquiring additional silver and precious metal streams will remain a top priority in 2012.

Shares of the company closed at $31.98 on Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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