* Sees 2009 gold equivalent production of 2.2 mln ounces
* Production ramp-up at Paracatu slower than expected
* Shares down almost 5 pct in morning trade (Recasts, adds background, analyst comments. In U.S. dollars, unless noted)
By Euan Rocha
TORONTO, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Canadian gold miner Kinross Gold Corp (K.TO) lowered its full-year 2009 production outlook and raised its forecast for cost of sales, prompting analysts to lower earnings and output forecasts for Kinross, which sent the shares down almost 5 percent on Tuesday.
The revised outlook is due partly to a slower than expected ramp-up at Kinross’s Paracatu mine in Brazil, the company said late on Monday.
Kinross said it made progress in the third quarter in increasing productivity at Paracatu, but that it continues to face challenges in achieving efficiency and output targets.
Toronto-based Kinross said that for full-year 2009 it now expects to produce 2.2 million gold equivalent ounces at an average cost of sales per ounce of $435 to $450.
In August, Kinross had already reduced its 2009 production forecast to 2.3 million to 2.4 million gold equivalent ounces from an earlier forecast of 2.5 million due to the problems at Paracatu. At the time, it forecast cost of sales per ounce at the higher end of a $390 to $420 range.
Kinross’s new forecast comes a day after smaller rival Iamgold Corp (IMG.TO) raised its 2009 gold production forecast due to increased output at its Rosebel mine in Suriname and the extended life of its Doyon mine in Quebec. [ID:nN26180735]
Kinross expects average cost of sales per ounce of $700 to $735 at Paracatu, which will produce about 340,000 to 360,000 ounces of gold in 2009, accounting for roughly 16 percent of the company’s overall production this year.
UBS analyst Brian MacArthur lowered his 2009 earnings forecast for Kinross to 45 cents a share from 51 cents a share to reflect the lower production and higher cost assumptions.
“We have also reduced our 2010 and 2011 production estimates as we believe recovery and throughput rates will be lower then originally planned at Paracatu until additional grinding capacity is added,” he said in a note to clients.
MacArthur also cut his price target on shares of Kinross to $25 from $27, but maintained his “buy” rating on the company.
The company said it is evaluating options to add additional grinding capacity, while it continues to work on improving mill performance through various initiatives.
Blackmont analyst Richard Gray lowered his 2009 production estimate for Kinross to 2.20 million ounces from 2.3 million ounces.
Gray also lowered his 2010 estimate to 2.20 million ounces, from 2.27 million, noting that any turnaround at Paracatu is likely to take several quarters.
Kinross is expected to announce its third-quarter results on Nov. 2.
Kinross shares were down C$1 at C$20.65 in morning trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
$1=$1.06 Canadian Reporting by Euan Rocha, editing by Peter Galloway