* Q4 loss C$4.68/shr, vs yr-earlier profit of C$0.38/shr
* Excl items, Q4 loss C$0.38/shr
* Shares fall 16.5 percent (Adds details on results, analyst comment, share price move)
TORONTO, March 30 (Reuters) - Canadian nickel and copper miner FNX Mining Co FNX.TO posted a big quarterly loss on Monday due to a slump in metal prices and asset impairment charges, sending its shares down 16.5 percent.
The company reported a loss of C$397.4 million ($316 million), or C$4.68 a share, in its fourth quarter, compared with a year-earlier profit of C$32.3 million, or 38 Canadian cents a share.
FNX said the one-time items that affected the results included property, plant and equipment impairment charges, as well as gains and losses on investments.
Excluding items, the company lost C$32.6 million, or 38 Canadian cents a share. Analysts on average had forecast a loss of 22 Canadian cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.
FNX shares fell 16.5 percent to C$4.05 in morning trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
RBC Capital Markets analyst Adam Schatzker noted that FNX ended 2008 with C$130 million in cash and no debt.
“We continue to believe FNX is well positioned to weather the downturn and provide investors with significant upside with the development of the LFD (Levack Footwall Deposit),” said Schatzker, in a note to clients.
FNX currently operates the McCreedy West mine, the Levack mine and the Podolsky mine, and is in the process of developing the Levack Footwall deposit in Ontario’s Sudbury Basin.
The company’s total capital expenditures in 2008 were C$167.7 million and it has cut its 2009 capital expenditure budget to C$64.2 million in light of the weak global economy.
$1=$1.25 Canadian Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Peter Galloway