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Barrick Profit Rises on Gold Price; Dividend Boosted

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July 29 (Bloomberg) -- Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest producer of the metal, said second-quarter profit increased 59 percent and raised its dividend as prices climbed to a record.

Net income rose to $783 million, or 79 cents a share, from $492 million, or 56 cents, a year earlier, Toronto-based Barrick said today in a statement. Profit excluding one-time items was 77 cents a share, topping the 72-cent average estimate of 20 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales gained 34 percent to $2.64 billion.

“Barrick has become the most consistent earnings and cash-flow generator in the senior gold sector,” Greg Barnes, a Toronto-based analyst at TD Newcrest Securities, said in a note to clients. “This is the fifth straight quarter that Barrick has beaten consensus.”

Chief Executive Officer Aaron Regent reiterated plans to boost the company’s gold output this year to as much as 8 million ounces, from 7.4 million last year, helped by new production from the Cortez Hills project in Nevada. The company also raised its dividend 20 percent to 12 cents on a quarterly basis and said future dividends will be quarterly instead of semi-annual.

Gold, which climbed to a record $1,266.50 an ounce on June 21 in New York trading, has since fallen about 7.5 percent.

‘Positive’ Outlook

The outlook for the metal remains “positive,” even as investor concerns about Europe’s sovereign-debt problems have eased, Barrick Chief Financial Officer Jamie Sokalsky said on a conference call with investors.

“Sovereign-debt issues around the world aren’t likely to go away in the foreseeable future,” Sokalsky said. “The main drivers of investment demand, and hence, higher gold prices are still in place.”

Gold reached all-time highs in euros, U.K. pounds and Swiss francs last month on demand for a haven from Europe’s fiscal woes.

Barrick rose 39 cents, or 0.9 percent, to C$42.01 at 4:15 a.m. in Toronto Stock Exchange trading. The shares have risen 1.3 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Donville in Vancouver at cjdonville@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey@bloomberg.net

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