Thursday, February 20, 2014

Centerra profit misses estimates on lower realized gold prices

(Reuters) - Canadian miner Centerra Gold Inc reported a lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, hurt by lower realized gold prices.

The company reported a net income of $106.6 million, or 45 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $70.7 million, or 30 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected the company to earn 68 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue in the fourth quarter rose about 27 percent to $468.9 million due to higher ounces sold, but was partially offset by a 26 percent drop in realized gold prices.

The average realized gold prices in the fourth quarter fell to $1,271 per ounce from $1,711 per ounce a year earlier.

Centerra, which owns and operates the Kumtor mine in Kyrgyzstan and the Boroo mine in Mongolia, said consolidated gold production in 2013 nearly doubled to 690,720 ounces from 387,076 ounces a year earlier.

"Both operations exceeded their production guidance in 2013, mainly as a result of a strong fourth quarter at Kumtor and better than expected annual production from the heap leach operation at Boroo," Ian Atkinson, Centerra president and CEO said in a statement.

Centerra said it expects to continue its discussions with the Kyrgyz government for a potential restructuring to resolve all outstanding concerns relating to the Kumtor Project.

Kumtor, hidden in the Tien Shan mountains near Kyrgyzstan's border with China, has long been a source of political tension in the impoverished Central Asian nation.

Kyrgyzstan's parliament this month gave the government up to four months to finalize a draft deal with Centerra to form a joint venture to run the Kumtor gold mine.

Kyrgyzstan owns a 32.7 percent stake in Centerra. The draft agreement calls for an exchange of this stake for half of Kumtor, Centerra's core asset.

Centerra said last month it expected to produce 595,000 to 645,000 ounces of gold in 2014, of which 550,000 to 600,000 ounces will come from Kumtor.

Centerra shares, which have fallen about 35 percent in the past year amid a broader slide in other gold stocks, closed at C$4.80 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

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