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Agnico-Eagle Mines swings to profit in fourth quarter

Gold is poured at Agnico-Eagle's Meadowbank Mine.

CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. swung to a profit in its fourth quarter compared to the year earlier period when it took a $907-million (U.S.) impairment charge on its Meadowbank mine.

The Toronto-based miner handed in a profit Wednesday of $82.8-million, or 48 cents per diluted share, in the fourth quarter compared to a loss of $601-million, or $3.53 in the year earlier period.

Revenue from mining operations came in at $449-million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, down from $455-million year over year. Total revenue, which included interest and investment gains, came in at $467-million compared to $448-million in 2011.

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Agnico-Eagle also boosted its quarterly dividend 10 per cent to 22 cents from 20 cents.

Agnico-Eagle said the fourth quarter profit included a $16.5-million gain on the sale of Queenston Mining Inc. shares and a non-cash foreign currency translation gain of $4.5-million.

Cash provided by operating activities was $106-million for the quarter, down from $132-million year over year.

"In 2013, we anticipate continuing our solid execution at the current operations and advancing construction on our three near-term growth projects, La India, Goldex and the LaRonde Extension," president and CEO Sean Boyd said in a release.

"The new projects, combined with the forecast of higher grades at LaRonde are expected to result in growth of approximately 20 per cent in our gold production from 2013 to 2015."

Total cash costs for the fourth quarter were $769 per ounce, up from $671 per ounce year over year. The company said the increase was mainly due to higher costs at LaRonde and Meadowbank and the temporary suspension of operations at Creston Mascota.

The company said it recorded record annual gold production of 1.04 million ounces at total costs of $640 per ounce for the year, compared to 985,460 ounces at total cash costs per ounce of $580 in 2011.

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For the full year, Agnico-Eagle posted net income of $310.9-million, or $1.82 per share, compared to a net loss of $568.9-million, or $3.36 per share, in 2011 – when it not only took the impairment charge on Meadowbank but also a write down due to the suspension of production from the GEZ deposit at Goldex.

It said 2012 earnings were "positively affected by consistent performance at all operating mines and significant year-over-year improvement at Meadowbank."

Shares in Agnico-Eagle, which reported after markets closed, ended the day down 64 cents to $44.15 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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