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REFILE-Chile's Codelco expects $2.8 billion profit this year - media

·1 min read

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SANTIAGO, March 7 (Reuters) - Chilean copper company Codelco should increase its profits to $2.8 billion this year thanks to improved productivity and good prices, although the company does not expect to receive capital from the government, its top executive told local media.

The president of the firm's board of directors, Juan Benavides, said in an interview in newspaper El Mercurio on Sunday that cost containment continues to be a main focus.

Last year's profit at the state-run company was about $2.1 billion, before taxes and extraordinary items.

The coronavirus pandemic has reduced the amount of money available from the state to support Codelco, Benavides said, as the government supports families hit by COVID-19.

"The needs of the state are very great. I don't see that there are capitalization possibilities," Benavides added.

In February a top Codelco executive told Reuters that there should be no need to issue new corporate bonds this year.

One source of uncertainty are labor contracts that Codelco needs to settle this year involving 9,500 workers. Benavides called for "prudence" on the part of union and company negotiators in the talks.

(Reporting by Fabian Cambero;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)