Centamin earnings fall in third quarter as lower gold price hits

Suzie Neuwirth
EGYPT-FOCUSED gold miner Centamin’s earnings fell 32 per cent to $43.1m (£26.8m) in the third quarter, roughly in line with analysts’ expectations, due to a fall in output and the lower gold price.

The firm was also hit by a £11.9m writedown after Centamin reduced its stake in Ethiopia-focused miner Nyota Minerals once again, bringing its stake down to 14.4 per cent.

Although production fell nine per cent in the third quarter, the FTSE 250-listed firm remains on track to beat full-year output guidance.

Expansion of a processing plant remains on track to be completed in the fourth quarter, within the $325m budget, raising the possibility of Centamin’s first dividend. “We’re nearly at the end of that investment phase, so we should be creating substantial amounts of free cash in 2014,” Andy Davidson, head of business development, told City A.M. “We need to either find something to do with it or return it to shareholders. We’d like to pay out a dividend in the next 12 to 18 months.”

Davidson also said that the company is “constantly reviewing acquisitions” and that it is no secret that there are lots of opportunities in the gold space. “We have our eyes and ears open,” he said.

A long-running court case over the validity of a mining licence is still in process but is hoped to be resolved early next year. Shares closed down 4.9 per cent as the lower gold price continued to weigh.