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Antofagasta Quarterly Profit Declines 29% on Lower Copper Prices

Antofagasta Plc, the copper producer controlled by Chile’s Luksic family, said first-quarter profit fell 29 percent as lower commodity prices offset higher output.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization declined to $781.7 million from $1.1 billion a year earlier, the London-based company said today in a statement. Sales slid 15 percent to $1.5 billion.

Prices for copper, a metal used in wires and pipes, have dropped on concern slowing global economic growth will erode demand. Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange averaged $7,958 a metric ton in the first quarter, 4.4 percent less than a year earlier, squeezing profit margins for Antofagasta even as production increased.

Copper output rose 13 percent to 183,800 tons, while gold production jumped 36 percent to 86,200 ounces. The company sold its copper at 341.1 cents a pound, 21 percent lower than a year earlier, it said.

“Significant decreases in the market price through the first quarter 2013 led to negative provisional pricing adjustments of $80.9 million,” Antofagasta said.

Gold prices declined to $1,632 an ounce from $1,691 a year earlier, and the company sold its output below market prices at $1,588 an ounce, according to the statement.

Antofagasta seeks to produce about 700,000 tons of copper this year after last year’s 11 percent gain to 709,600 tons.

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