* Profit more than triples
* Gold reserves up 26 percent from year earlier (In U.S. dollars unless noted)
TORONTO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Centerra Gold (CG.TO) said on Tuesday its fourth-quarter profit more than tripled, helped by higher production and a 40-percent jump in the price it received for its gold.
Centerra, which is 33-percent owned by the government of Kyrgyzstan following a deal last year with former majority owner Cameco Corp (CCO.TO), earned $140 million, or 60 cents a share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31.
This compared with $42.6 million or 20 cents a share in the year-earlier quarter.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected, on average, a profit of 54 Canadian cents a share before exceptional items.
The company said its proven and probable gold reserves increased to 7.3 million contained ounces, a 26-percent rise from the end of 2008.
Cameco, originally spun out Centerra in 2004, divested its remaining 53 percent stake last year under a deal that saw the Kyrgyz government double its own stake. The agreement was signed to solidify Centerra’s ownership of its flagship Kumtor mine in the Asian country.
Fourth-quarter revenue rose to $323.9 million from $241.3 million as gold production totaled 296,048 ounces, up from 284,045 ounces a year earlier.
The company’s average realized gold price rose 40 percent from a year earlier to $1,129 an ounce.
The miner said consolidated gold production is expected to be in the 640,000 to 700,000 ounce range in 2010 and total cash costs are expected to come in between $460 to $505 per ounce.
Centerra in December forecast 2010 consolidated gold production of 660,000 to 680,000 ounces. [ID:nBNG523972] (Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Valerie Lee)