July 31, 2009 / 5:53 PM / in 8 years

Silver Wheaton eyeing dividend, acquisition-CEO

* Could begin paying dividend in 1 to 2 years

* Focused on making an acquisition

* Shares rise 3.7 percent (In U.S. dollars unless noted)

By Cameron French

TORONTO, July 31 (Reuters) - Silver Wheaton SLW.TO is mulling the idea of paying a shareholder dividend, but its near-term focus is more on making a significant acquisition, the company's chief executive said on Friday.

The Canadian silver streaming company closed its $152 million acquisition of Silverstone Resources during the second quarter, and sees opportunities for another deal that could transform the company further, CEO Peter Barnes said on a conference call to discuss the company's quarterly results.

"Let's see where we go on (another acquisition) over the next 6 to 12 months before we start deciding on dividends," he said.

"Frankly, I think there's a good prospect that we may make a decision to start paying a dividend over the next year or two."

At midafternoon, the company's shares were up 36 Canadian cents, or 3.7 percent, at C$10, moving roughly in line with other Toronto-listed precious metal producers.

Silver Wheaton, which purchases by-product silver produced by other mining companies and resells it, said late on Thursday it earned $18.4 million, or 6 cents a share, in the second quarter ended June 30.

That compared with a profit of $23.3 million, or 10 cents a share, in the year-before period.

UBS Investment Research analyst Greg White said the results were largely in line with expectations, but he predicted the company's sales for the year would be on the low end of its forecast of a range of 17 million to 19 million ounces.

Following the Silverstone acquisition, Silver Wheaton resells silver from nine mines.

Its sales volume is expected to increase sharply once Goldcorp (G.TO) begins producing at its big Penasquito mine in Mexico, from which Silver Wheaton will sell the silver.

Penasquito is expected to start putting ore through its mill soon and should reach commercial production next year.

"The Penasquito mine promises to almost single-handedly boost our silver sales and cash flows by some 75 percent over the next four years," Barnes said.

$1=$1.08 Canadian Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway

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