Barrick GoldCorporation (ABX) recently announced a 33% hike in its quarterly dividend. As a result, the dividend will now rise to 20 cents per share from the previous payout of 15 cents. The revised dividend will be paid on June 15, 2012 to shareholders of record as of May 31, 2012.
The company’s announcement of dividend increase is in sync with its strategy of giving higher returns to its shareholders. Moreover, Barrick’s solid earnings coupled with its positive outlook on gold prices enable it to increase its dividend and make higher return on its project pipeline.
Recently, Barrick released its first-quarter 2012 earnings. The company’s adjusted net earnings (excluding one time items) rose 8% to $1.09 per share in the quarter from $1.01 in the prior-year quarter. The results came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Profit, as reported, inched up roughly 3% year over year to $1.03 billion (or $1.03 a share). The growth were attributable to higher average realized gold price.
Revenues came in at $3,644 million, up 18% from $3,087 million in the year-ago quarter, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,758 million. The company produced 1.88 million ounces of gold in the quarter versus 1.96 million ounces in the year-ago period.
Copper production in the quarter amounted to 117 million pounds, a 56% jump from the year-ago production of 75 million pounds. Total gold cash costs jumped 24.7% to $545 per ounce of gold, while total cash cost for copper increased to $2.08 per pound from $1.25 per pound in the prior-year quarter.
Barrick Gold maintained its 2012 forecast of 7.3 -7.8 million ounces of gold and 550 -600 million pounds of copper. The company, however, increased its exploration budget to $450-$490 million from the prior-year actual expenditure of $350 million driven by exploration success in 2011. It remains on track to advance construction at Pueblo Viejo and Pascua-Lama, with first production expected in mid-2012 and mid-2013, respectively.
We currently have a long-term Neutral recommendation on Barrick Gold which competes with AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (AU) and Newmont Mining Corp. (NEM). The stock maintains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term (1 to 3 months) Hold rating.Read the Full Research Report on NEM
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