Silvercorp Metals Inc. , a Vancouver-based company which operates mines in China, says it has raised its quarterly dividend by 25 per cent.
The company, which has been under fire in recent months over questions about its accounting practices, said Wednesday it will pay 2.5 cents a share to shareholders each quarter, up from two cents.
The move comes a day after the miner reported its latest quarterly profits jumped sharply on a 71 per cent increase in revenues.
Silvercorp said the increased cash payment for the company's fiscal 2012 second quarter will be made Jan. 20
“Based on Silvercorp's earnings growth and strong cash flow performance, the board of directors has determined that Silvercorp is in a position to provide an additional return to shareholders through a 25 per cent dividend increase,” the company said in a release before stock markets opened Wednesday.
“With its strong financial position, the company believes that it can increase dividends, while at the same time continuing to grow its business through further investments in exploration, mine development and acquisitions.”
Late Tuesday, Silvercorp reported it earned $18.5-million (U.S.), or 11 cents a share, in the second quarter ended Sept. 30.
That was up from $12.4-million, or eight cents, a year earlier.
The miner, which reports in U.S. dollars, said revenue increased to $62.1-million from $36.3-million.
Silver production rose to 1.4 million ounces, a four per cent increase from 1.3 million ounces a year ago.
Last month, Silvercorp released a forensic auditor's report which backed the Chinese miner's financial statements which had been called into question.
Silvercorp chairman and chief executive Rui Feng said the report clears the company, whose accounting practices had been questioned by anonymous short sellers.
“All the cash is there. Our revenues are there ... all the financial numbers are good,” Feng said at the time in an interview from Hong Kong.
The Vancouver-based miner said the report by KPMG Forensic Inc. confirmed that its cash and short-term investment balances reported Dec. 31, 2010, and March 31 of this year “were substantially correct.”
KPMG had been hired by a special committee of the company's board to look into the accusations.
Silvercorp is China's largest primary silver producer, with about 3,000 employees, and four silver-lead-zinc mines at the Ying Mining Camp in the Henan province of northeastern China.
In Canada, the company is developing a silver project in northern British Columbia.