(In U.S. dollars, unless noted)
TORONTO, April 28 (Reuters) - Silver Wheaton Corp SLW.TO said on Monday that its first-quarter profit rose 12 percent, as higher silver prices more than made up for lower sales volumes.
The company, which buys silver produced by several miners and resells the metal at market prices, earned $27.9 million, or 13 cents a share, up from $24.9 million, or 11 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter.
Analysts polled by Reuters Estimates had expected, on average, profit of 14 cents a share.
Silver Wheaton sold 2.8 million ounces of silver in the quarter, down from 3.3 million in the year-before period. But the average realized price climbed to $17.36 an ounce from $13.20 per ounce.
All told, silver sales totaled $48.9 million, up from $44.1 million. Cash costs per ounce were $3.94, up a bit from $3.90.
Silver Wheaton said the number of ounces sold during the quarter was about 14 percent lower than planned, due to the timing of certain shipments and the mining of lower than reserve grade ore at two of the mines it buys from.
The company lowered its 2008 expectations a bit, calling for sales of between 13 million and 15 million ounces, based on its current contracts. In February, it had said it expected sales of 15 million ounces.
Silver Wheaton reaffirmed its sales outlook of 19 million ounces in 2009 and 25 million ounces in 2010.
"The company also said it is "actively pursuing further growth opportunities."
The company's shares ended the session down 41 Canadian cents at C$14.39 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The news was released after markets closed.
$1=$1.01 Canadian Reporting by Cameron French; Editing by Peter Galloway