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Cameco Profit Drops 50% on Lower Prices; 2018 Forecast Reduced

Cameco Corp., the world’s third-largest uranium miner, reported a 50 percent drop in third-quarter profit, excluding one-time items, as the price of the raw material in nuclear-reactor fuel dropped.

Profit declined to C$52 million ($52 million), or 13 cents a share, from C$104 million, or 26 cents a share, a year earlier, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Cameco said today in a statement. Net income, including items, climbed to C$82 million, or 21 cents a share, from C$39 million, or 10 cents a share, according to the company.

The company reduced its annual output forecast from existing mining projects to 36 million pounds by 2018 from its previous target of 40 million pounds, Cameco said today. Cameco reaffirmed its forecast of full-year uranium production of 21.7 million pounds this year.

“Ongoing market uncertainty in the near term led us to review and adjust our growth plans this quarter,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Gitzel said in the statement. “We decided to focus on advancing projects with the greatest certainty in the near term.”

Cameco sold uranium for an average of $44.49 a pound in the quarter, down from $47.33 a year earlier. The industry’s average uranium spot price fell to $48.08, compared with $51.04 a year earlier. Revenue fell to C$408 million from C$527 million, less than the C$566.3 million average of four estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Uranium Prices Decline

Uranium spot prices have slumped since the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami led to a meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant. In response, Japan suspended its fleet of nuclear power plants.

“Excess uranium inventories in Japan from the Fukushima disaster last year are overshadowing what I’d call the industry’s strong fundamentals,” Rob Chang, a Toronto-based analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald LP, said by telephone before the results were released. “A price rebound is overdue.”

Cameco was the third-largest uranium miner last year after Kazatomprom, Kazakhstan’s state-owned producer, and Paris-based Areva SA, according to the World Nuclear Association.

(Cameco scheduled a conference call to discuss the results for tomorrow at 1 p.m. New York time, accessible at 866-226-1792.)

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