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31-07-2012 09:31:00

UPDATE: Fresnillo Committed to Growth Plans as Earnings Fall

Relateret indhold

-- Fresnillo committed to investing in growth projects despite uncertain economic climate

-- Revenue rose as higher gold prices and output offset lower silver prices and output

-- Ebitda fell as cost of sales increased due to commissioning of new mines and higher raw material input costs

-- Interim dividend drops 26% to $0.155 a share

(Adds details throughout.)

By Alex MacDonald

LONDON--Mexican precious metals miner Fresnillo PLC (FRES.LN) said Tuesday that it remains committed to its growth program despite uncertainty in the global economy, and as higher operating costs pushed its net profit down 25% in the first half of the year.

"We consider the global economic climate will remain uncertain as a number of developed countries continue to display signs of recession," said Fresnillo's Chief Executive Jaime Lomelin, who announced his retirement last week.

"However, we remain committed to delivering on the group's production and growth program by investing in productivity, efficiency and exploration," he said.

Fresnillo, the world's largest primary silver producer and Mexico's second largest gold producer, said revenue for the six months to June 30 rose 2.7% on year, to $1.09 billion, as higher gold prices and record gold production more than offset falling silver prices and lower silver output stemming from anticipated lower ore grades at the Fresnillo mine.

But the cost of sales increased by more than a third, pushing earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, down 9.2% on year, to $684 million. Costs rose due in part to start-up expenses associated with its Noche Buena mine, additional operational costs from the Saucito mine and higher labor and material unit costs.

First-half net profit attributable to shareholders fell 25% on year, to $367 million. The interim dividend was cut to $0.155 a share from $0.21 in the same period a year ago.

The London-listed miner reaffirmed that it plans to produce 41 million troy ounces of silver in 2012, broadly flat on year. It plans gold production of 460,000 ounces.

Fresnillo's shares opened Tuesday in London down 1.1%, or 25 pence, at 1,428 pence, resulting in a market capitalization of GBP10.42 billion. Fresnillo's shares are down 4.9% since the beginning of the year.

Write to Alex MacDonald at alex.macdonald@dowjones.com

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 31, 2012 03:31 ET (07:31 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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