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Antofagasta Profit Falls on Copper Prices, Higher Costs

Antofagasta Plc, the copper company controlled by Chile’s billionaire Luksic family, said profit declined 28 percent after metal prices dropped and costs rose.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization slid to $2.05 billion in the first nine months of the year from $2.85 billion a year earlier, Antofagasta said today in a statement. Sales fell 9.2 percent to $4.4 billion.

The company, which increased copper output in the period by 4.4 percent to 538,300 metric tons, has suffered a decline in prices as slowing economic growth eroded demand for the metal used in pipes and wires. A slump in by-product volumes also pushed up total cash costs per pound.

Copper for three-month delivery averaged $7,413 a ton on the London Metal Exchange in the nine months, 6.9 percent less than a year earlier. Antofagasta sold the metal at $3.26 a pound, compared with $3.74 a year earlier, it said today.

The company reported a 34 percent jump in net cash costs to $1.33 a pound. Output of molybdenum, a by-product used to harden steel, fell 30 percent to 6,700 tons, Antofagasta said.

The London-based company is seeking to increase copper production to about 700,000 tons this year from 640,500 tons.

The net cash position was $1.64 billion at the end of September, compared with $2.56 billion at the end of December.

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