(Updates with chief executive comments in fourth paragraph.)
Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- OZ Minerals Ltd., the third-biggest Australian copper producer by market value, reported profit fell 53 percent last year as earnings the previous year were boosted by a one-time item.
Net income was A$274.5 million in the year ended Dec. 31, from A$586.9 million a year earlier, Melbourne-based OZ Minerals said today in a statement. That compares with the A$268 million average of 15 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. OZ Minerals will pay a final dividend of 30 cents a share, bringing its total 2011 payout to 60 cents.
Chief Executive Officer Terry Burgess expects copper and gold prices to remain “strong” this year even as costs rise amid gains in the Australian dollar. He kept his forecast for 2012 copper production at 100,000 metric tons to 110,000 tons and gold output between 130,000 ounces and 150,000 ounces.
“2012 is going to be a very good year for us and copper continues to be very buoyant,” Burgess said today in an interview with Rishaad Salamat on Bloomberg TV’s “On the Move Asia” program. “We’ve got the right mix of commodity with copper and gold.”
The company’s cash balance of A$886 million enables it to “actively” look for opportunities that will add value, he said. OZ Minerals, which isn’t in talks at the moment, will focus on buying assets that are already in production or could be brought into production in two to three years time, said Burgess.
‘Looking for Value’
“We’re looking for value and it’s not that easy to find,” he said. “It’s a quest that we will continue to do.”
The shares fell 1.3 percent to A$11.34 at the close of trading in Sydney. The stock, which has 10 “buy” eight “hold” and three “sell,” has advanced 13 percent this year.
Profit was cut by a A$42.2 million litigation settlement and a A$15.2 million writedown on its investment in Toro Energy Ltd., it said today. Net income in 2010 was boosted by a A$141.1 million reversal of a one-time charge. Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization were to A$585.6 million, little changed from last year.
--Editors: Rebecca Keenan, Andrew Hobbs
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