* Earnings, production beat analyst estimates
* Company boosts annual dividend, sets special dividend
* Shares up 8.41 pct at C$19.08 (In U.S. dollars unless noted)
TORONTO, May 2 (Reuters) - Shares of Centerra Gold (CG.TO) rose more than 8 percent on Monday, after the company reported better than expected first quarter results and boosted its dividend.
The mid-tier gold producer said late on Friday that it would pay a special dividend of 30 Canadian cents a share, and also increased its annual dividend from 6 Canadian cents to 10 Canadian cents a share.
Shares of Centerra were up 8.41 percent at C$19.08 on Monday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
“They beat expectations, but they also announced a special dividend of 30 cents Canadian per share,” said RBC analyst Haytham Hodaly.
“Their dividend this year, so far, is going to be 40 cents a share, which is just over a 2 percent yield,” he added. “That is one of the highest yields in the precious metals industry.”
The special dividend will be paid on May 18.
Centerra also posted a 10 percent rise in its first-quarter profit, helped by higher gold prices. [ID:nL3E7FT3H6]
While production was lower than in the previous year, the Toronto-based company beat most analysts’ production estimates for the quarter. Centerra maintained full-year estimates of 600,000 to 650,000 ounces of gold.
The miner is expected to increase production to around 850,000 ounces a year by 2014.
“There’s some decent growth in the pipeline, assuming everything works out how it is supposed to,” said Hodaly.
Some of that growth depends on Centerra obtaining a final operating permit for its heap leach project at the Boroo mine in Mongolia, along with the development of the nearby Gatsuurt project, which has been delayed by an environmental law.
Centerra also owns the Kumtor mine in Kyrgyzstan, where it plans to spend $13 million this year on exploration. (Reporting by Julie Gordon; editing by Rob Wilson)