By David George-Cosh
Cameco /zigman2/quotes/204088869/composite CCJ +4.45% Corp. reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings late Thursday as a continuing slump in uranium prices weighed on the company’s revenue.
The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based uranium mining company lost 144 million Canadian dollars (about $109.6 million), or 36 Canadian cents a share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of C$10 million, or 3 Canadian cents a share in the year-earlier period.
Uranium prices have tumbled more than 50% since the 2011 disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which led to a sharp decrease in global demand. Stockpiles have grown to about 1 billion pounds, according to recent estimates.
Last week, Cameco said Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings /zigman2/quotes/202771076/delayed JP:9501 -3.07% Inc., the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, canceled its contract with the uranium miner. The deal with the Japanese company is for approximately 9.3 million pounds of the metal, worth an estimated C$1.3 billion, through 2028, or about 3% of Cameco’s global sales.
“The past year proved to be another difficult period for the uranium market,” Cameco Chief Executive Tim Gitzel said in a statement.
On an adjusted basis, the company earned 23 Canadian cents per share, below the average analyst estimate of 25 cents, according to Thomson Reuters.
Cameco’s revenue fell 9% in the quarter to C$887 million, above analysts’ estimate of C$818 million. The company produced 7.1 million pounds of uranium in the fourth quarter, down from 9.6 million pounds in the year-earlier period. Its average realized uranium prices was $38.04 per pounds, down 18% from the same period last year.
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