TORONTO – Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) says its profits rose 45 per cent to a record US$1.37 billion in the third quarter, helped by the strength of higher gold prices.
Chief executive Aaron Regent said if gold prices remain strong, the company, which raised its dividend on Wednesday by 25 per cent, will continue to look at increasing its payment to shareholders.
“As we get further in to 2012 and if the markets continue to perform as we expect, then clearly we’ll be continuing to revisit our dividend levels,” Regent told a conference call with financial analysts.
The Toronto-based gold miner, which reports in U.S. dollars, says the profits were equal to $1.37 per share, coming in above analyst expectations of $1.34 per share, according to Thomson Reuters. The results were an improvement from a profit of $942 million, or 96 cents per share a year earlier.
When filtering out one-time gains, profits were $1.39 billion, or $1.39 per share, rising from $912 million or 93 cents a share.
Revenues increased to $4 billion, better than analyst targets of $3.89 billion, and up from $2.79 billion in the same period of 2010.
Gold production totalled 1.93 million ounces at a total cash cost of $453 an ounce. That compared with 2.06 million ounces produced in the third quarter of 2010 at a total cash cost of $403 per ounce.
The world’s biggest gold miner increased its quarterly dividend by 25 per cent, to 15 cents per share, up from 12 cents. The new dividend will be paid on Dec. 15 to shareholders of record on Nov. 30.
The increase by Barrick was followed by an announcement by Newmont Mining Corp., one of the world’s largest mining companies, that it would increase its dividend by 17 per cent to 35 cents per share.
Regent told an investor conference in September that Barrick would look to increase its dividends and share buybacks as it rode a wave of record gold prices.
He noted at the time the company was much stronger than it was even just three or four months ago and said that would play into any decision regarding dividend increases or buybacks.
The company has several large projects in development including Pueblo Viejo in the Dominican Republic, Pascua-Lama on the border between Chile and Argentina and Cerro Casale in Chile.
Barrick is also working to develop the Donlin Gold project, which it holds jointly with NovaGold Resources (TSX:NG).
Costs estimates at that project recently jumped by more than 50 per cent to US$7 billion, pushed higher by the addition of a US$1 billion for a natural gas pipeline to feed a power plant that will produce electricity for the planned mine.
Barrick owns and operates gold mines in Canada, Peru, and Australia and has major projects in the Dominican Republic, Nevada, and on the Argentina-Chile border.