By Rhiannon Hoyle
SYDNEY--Newcrest Mining Ltd. (NCM.AU) recorded a 48% fall in first-half profit, as weaker production and higher costs offset an increased gold price.
Newcrest, one of the world's biggest-listed gold producers, on Thursday reported a net profit of US$98 million for the six months through December, down from US$187 million in the same period a year earlier.
The company said it will pay an interim dividend of 7.5 U.S. cents, steady on a year ago.
Newcrest produced 1.14 million troy ounces of gold during the half, down from 1.23 million ounces on the first half of last fiscal year.
Output has been disrupted by a series of plant shutdowns, including at Newcrest's Lihir mine in Papua New Guinea and at its Telfer operation in Western Australia. Gold mining at Newcrest's Cadia site in eastern Australia was also last year disrupted by an earthquake.
Last month, Newcrest said its cost of producing an ounce of gold rose to US$860 an ounce during the half, up from US$770 an ounce in the same period a year ago. That offset the higher gold price--which increased to US$1,295 an ounce from US$1,277 an ounce--leaving Newcrest a margin of US$435 an ounce, down 14% on the year-earlier period.
Still, net debt was reduced by 4% over the year to US$1.44 billion.
Newcrest expects gold output to be stronger in the second half of its fiscal year and is forecasting annual production of 2.4 million-2.7 million ounces of the precious metal.
Write to Rhiannon Hoyle at email@example.com