VANCOUVER – Silver Wheaton Corp. (TSX:SLW) reported a sharp drop in both fourth-quarter and full-year net earnings Thursday and cut its dividend as declining precious metals prices took their toll on operations.
The company reported after markets closed that the quarterly payout was being cut by two cents to seven cents US per share, payable on or about April 15 to shareholders of record April 4.
Under Silver Wheaton’s dividend policy, the quarterly dividend is equal to 20 per cent of average cash generated by operating activities in the previous four quarters, divided by the company’s outstanding common shares at the time the dividend is approved, all rounded to the nearest cent.
Net earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 31 plunged 47 per cent to US$93.9 million or 26 cents per diluted share, compared with US$177.7 million or 50 cents in the same year-earlier period.
For the full year, net profits were US$375.5 million or US$1.05 per diluted share, down 36 per cent from 2012 earnings of $586 million or $1.65 diluted per share.
Quarterly revenue was $167.4 million on silver equivalent sales of eight million ounces (6.1 million ounces of silver and 31,200 ounces of gold).
That represented a 42 per cent decrease from the $287.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, due primarily to a 13 per cent decrease in the number of silver equivalent ounces sold, coupled with a 33 per cent decrease in the average realized silver equivalent price to US$21 from US$31.46.
For the full year, revenue was $706.5 million on silver equivalent sales of 30 million ounces (22.8 million ounces of silver and 117,300 ounces of gold) — a 17 per cent decrease from the US$849.6 million in 2012. That was due primarily to a 24 per cent decrease in the average realized silver equivalent price of $23.58 from $31.09, partially offset by a 10 per cent increase in the number of silver equivalent ounces sold.