Cameco posts surprise profit on higher uranium prices

(Reuters) - Canada's Cameco Corp CCO.TOCCJ.N reported a surprise profit for its first quarter on Friday, as the largest listed uranium producer benefited from higher prices and lower costs.

The Saskatchewan-based company said its average price for uranium rose about 25 percent to $42.92 per pound, while sales volumes rose nearly l6 percent to 6.6 million pounds.

Cameco in January suspended production from the McArthur River mine, the world’s biggest uranium mine, to cut costs and lower supply to an oversupplied uranium market. Its production fell to a third of what they were a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 6 Canadian cents per share, while analysts had expected a loss of 1 Canadian cent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net earnings were C$55 million, or 14 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of C$18 million, or 5 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Earnings were helped by a C$49 million gain on the restructuring of its Inkai joint venture with Kazakhstan.

Revenue rose to C$439 million from C$393 million.

Reporting by Karan Nagarkatti in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty