Kinross beats on adjusted earnings in Q4, but takes $3.09B write down on Tasiast

TORONTO – Kinross Gold Corporation (TSX:K) is reporting a multi-billion dollar net loss in its fourth quarter after taking a $3.2-billion impairment charge, mostly on its Tasiast mine.

The Toronto-based miner reported a net loss of $2.989 billion, or $2.62 per share for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared to a net loss of $2.79 billion, or $2.45 per share in the year earlier period.

On an adjusted basis, Kinross reported net earnings of $276.5 million, or 24 cents per share — beating analyst estimates by a penny.

Revenue for the quarter came in at $1.186 billion, compared with $919.8 million year over year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected revenue of $1.23 billion.

For the full year, Kinross posted a net loss of $2.5 billion, or $2.24 per share, compared with a net loss of $2.1 billion, or $1.84 per share, year over year. Full-year revenue was $4.3 billion compared to $3.8 billion in 2011.

Full-year adjusted net earnings were $879.2 million, or 77 cents per share.

Kinross also said its cutting its capital expenditures for 2013 compared to 2012. It forecast total capital expenditures of approximately $1.6 billion for the year, down $325 million last year.

Gold production for the quarter was 724,510 gold equivalent ounces, compared with 622,507 ounces in the year earlier period. Full-year production was 2.6 million gold equivalent ounces, which the company said exceeded guidance, compared with 2.5 million gold equivalent ounces for 2011.

The company expects to produce approximately 2.4 to 2.6 million gold equivalent ounces in 2013 at a production cost of sales per gold equivalent ounce of $740 to $790.

The Tasiast mine in Mauritania accounted for $3.09 billion of the $3.2 billion after-tax non-cash impairment charge and was due to several factors, including a reduction in the valuation multiple for Tasiast and industry-wide increases in capital and operating costs, the company said.

The remaining $111.3 million impairment charge for its Chirano operation in Ghana was “related entirely to goodwill,” the company said.

“While we recorded a non-cash impairment charge related to our Tasiast project, our pre-feasibility study work and recent exploration results continue to increase our confidence in Tasiast’s potential, and confirm its importance as part of our long-term future,” CEO J. Paul Rollinson said in a release.

“Our planning and outlook for 2013 reflects our continued focus on cost control, margin improvement and free cash flow.”

The Tasiast mine was acquired in 2010 as part of a US$7.1-billion deal for Red Back Mining.

Last August, Kinross launched a company-wide cost cutting initiative.

Also in 2012, Kinross replaced chief executive Tye Burt with Rollinson in an effort to improve the company’s lagging performance. Rollinson had been executive vice-president of corporate development for the Toronto-based gold miner.

Kinross has mines and projects in Canada, the United States, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Russia, Ghana, and Mauritania.

Shares in Kinross, which reported after the close of markets, closed down nine cents to $7.91 Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.