Barrick Gold's profit growth lower than expected

Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX), the world’s biggest gold miner, announced that profit slipped in the fourth quarter as the company booked US$153-million in various after-tax charges tied to redundant power assets and its investment portfolio.

According to Canadian Press, the Canadian miner published adjusted profits of US$1.17 billion. “On a per share basis, these results are equivalent to $1.17 per share, well short of analyst predictions of $1.27 per share, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters. A year earlier, the gold giant posted adjusted earnings of US$1.02 billion, or $1.02 per share,” CP reported.

Barrick’s fourth-quarter profit was US$959-million, or 96 cents per share, which is also lower than the US$961-million reported a year ago (also equal to 96 cents a share).

Revenue increased to US$3.79 billion from US$3.01 billion, nearly a 26% rise thanks to higher gold production and prices.

The company is forecasting 2012 gold production of 7.3 million to 7.8 million ounces on lower expected grades and production at its Cortez and Veladero mines. It said total cash costs are expected to increase to US$520-US$560 an ounce, because of changes in the production mix, higher labour and other inflationary costs.

African Barrick Gold Plc. (LON:ABG), Tanzania’s largest gold producer and one of the five largest gold producers in Africa, was one of the biggest losers. The division’s shares were down 9% this morning as the producer of the precious metal in Tanzania, announced that its fourth-quarter profit dropped 33% due to a slow down in production and higher costs.

Net income fell to $52.7 million in the period from $79 million a year earlier, the London-based company said today in a statement. Sales dropped 7.9% to $285.2 million.

African Barrick’s costs improved 29% to $779 an ounce last quarter, while production slipped 11% to 160,020 ounces.