August 8, 2011 / 9:28 PM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-First Quantum profit up on higher metal prices

TORONTO, Aug 8 (Reuters) - First Quantum (FM.TO) rose to a net profit on Monday, as lower copper and gold production was outweighed by far higher metals prices.

Net income in the quarter was $155.3 million, or $1.81 a share, compared with a year-ago loss of $182.0 million, or $2.27 a share.

Excluding one-time items, the Vancouver-based miner said its earnings were $155.3 million compared with earnings of $124.6 million a year ago.

Copper production slipped to 64,587 tonnes compared with 85,402 tonnes in the same period of 2010. Gold production was 41,087 ounces compared with 51,471 ounces.

Last month, the company warned that maintenance-related downtime at two of its mines had hurt its second-quarter production volumes. [ID:nL3E7I72EB]

Revenue rose to $660 million from $539.8 million, as the average realized copper price climbed to $3.81 a pound from $2.70 in the year-ago period.

Earlier this month, First Quantum said its shareholders had voted in favor of a five-for-one stock split that was put forward by the board in June. The move is expected to boost liquidity and widen its investor base. [ID:nL3E7J21YU]

The company said it expects to produce 280,000 tonnes of copper and 190,000 ounces of gold this year. The Ravensthorpe nickel project is expected to start in the second half of the year. (Reporting by Euan Rocha and Julie Gordon; editing by Rob Wilson)

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