Barrick Gold swings to quarterly loss, but trims debt further

Canada’s Barrick Gold (TSX, NYSE:ABX), the world’s largest producer of the precious metal by output, swung to a loss in the first three months of the year, as asset sales impacted production and realized gold prices fell.

The Toronto-based miner, however, reported quite a progress in terms of cutting its debt and reducing costs, trimmed debt by US$842 million since January. The figure puts Barrick closer to reaching its goal of reducing debt by $2 billion this year.

The loss for the period was $83 million, or 7 cents per share. In the same quarter last year, the company made $57 million.

The gold miner also maintained its 2016 production guidance while lowering its all-in sustaining cost guidance to between $760 and $810 an ounce (down from $775 to $825 an ounce).

The loss for the period was $83 million, or 7 cents per share, which according to Barrick was the result of one-time foreign currency losses. In the same quarter last year, the company made $57 million. On an adjusted basis, it earned 11 cents per share.

The company’s share price has nearly doubled since January as it is finally being helped, instead of damaged, by current gold prices.

The precious metal has defied expectations and steadily recovered this year from lows of about $1,050 an ounce in mid-December to roughly $1,234 an ounce Tuesday.

Later today the miner is hosting its annual meeting, after which former fund manager and current business performance chief, Catherine Raw, will assume as the firm’s new chief financial officer.

Shareholders hope that Raw, Barrick’s fourth CFO in only five years, can make a company’s shift from prizing output over profitability to place more emphasis on investors’ returns.