* Uranium producers shares fall on nuclear crisis
* Cameco down 15.6 pct at $30.60 on TSX
* Uranium One down 25.3 percent at C$4.45
TORONTO, March 14 (Reuters) - Shares in Cameco Inc, the world’s second largest uranium miner, fell sharply on Monday, amid fears of a huge hit to sales and profits if Japan curbs nuclear use in response to Friday’s devastating earthquake.
Cameco CCO.TO CCJ.N shares were down as much as 22.6 percent at C$28.09 as Japan battled to prevent a nuclear catastrophe after the massive earthquake damaged nuclear generators. [ID:nL3E7EC0D6]
By mid-morning, shares were down 15.8 percent at C$30.60.
Shares in Uranium One, Canada’s second largest producer, were also sharply lower although an official said he did not expect much of a long-term impact.
TD analyst Greg Barnes said Cameco sells 10 to 15 percent of its uranium to Japan. If, in what he described as a worst case scenario, Cameco lost 10 percent of sales, it would translate to a 21 percent drop in earnings per share.
He slashed his price target on shares of Cameco to C$42 from C$51, still way above current levels.
The damage to reactors at Japanese nuclear power plants has raised concerns about future of the industry in Japan, where nuclear power accounted for about a third of energy generation before the quake, the strongest ever to hit Japan.
Cameco expects to produce 21.9 million pounds of uranium in 2011, around 16 percent of global mine production of the metal used to make fuel for nuclear reactors. It plans to sell up to 33 million pounds.
Japan has closed 11 of its 54 reactors since the earthquake. Dahlman Rose analyst Anthony Young said in a note to clients that the affected reactors consume about 340,000 pounds of uranium a month.
Uranium One UUU.TO, Canada’s second largest uranium producer, were down 25.34 percent at C$4.45 mid-morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
A company executive said there could be a short-term impact if the Japanese reactors stay offline, due to a surplus of about 3 million pounds of uranium on the spot market. Uranium One is highly exposed to the spot price.
“Longer term, I don’t think this will have much of an impact,” said Uranium One Vice President of Strategic Affairs Fletcher Newton.
Earlier Monday, shares of Energy Resources of Australia ERA.AX, a unit of global miner Rio Tinto RIO.AX RIO.L fell 12.3 percent, while Paladin’s PDN.AX shares fell 16.5 percent in Sydney. [ID:nL3E7EE00B] (Reporting by Julie Gordon and Euan Rocha; editing by Janet Guttsman)