Jul. 22 (Bloomberg) –Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX), the world’s largest publicly traded copper producer, reported second-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates as metal prices rose and production costs declined.
Net income climbed to $1.37 billion, or $1.43 a share, from $649 million, or 70 cents, a year earlier, Phoenix-based Freeport said today in a statement. The earnings, which included a $61 million charge on the early payback of debt, beat the $1.33 average estimate of 16 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales increased 50 percent to $5.81 billion from $3.86 billion a year earlier.
Copper for delivery in three months on the London Metal Exchange averaged $9,163 a metric ton in the quarter, 30 percent more than a year earlier. The metal reached a record $10,190 in intraday trading on Feb. 15. Freeport’s so-called consolidated net cash production costs averaged 93 cents per pound of copper in the quarter, down from 97 cents a year earlier.
Freeport, which operates mines in the Americas, Africa and Asia, reiterated its full-year copper sales forecast of 3.9 billion pounds and its gold sales forecast of 1.6 million ounces. The company lowered its full-year net cash-cost forecast to $1.01 a pound from $1.04 previously.
The company is moving to increase U.S. output after postponing some mine expansion plans amid the global economic recession in 2008 and 2009.
Freeport reduced its debt to $3.5 billion at June 30, from $4.7 billion at the end of 2010, after the redemption of $1.1 billion of notes in the quarter.
Freeport dropped 58 cents, or 1 percent, to $55.34 as of 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have fallen 6.9 percent this year.