Russia's two largest gold producers turn in divergent 2012 results

Polyus Gold International Limited (LSE: PGIL), the largest gold producer in Russia, achieved a stunning 71% increase in net income, from US $573 million in 2011 to $981 million in 2012, according to its audited IFRS financial results for 2012.

Total revenue was up by 19% to $2.9 billion, reflecting increased sales volumes and higher gold prices.

Total cash cost per ounce sold increased by 8%, from $645 in 2011 to $695 in 2012, reflecting a significant reduction in cost inflation.

In contrast, Petropavlovsk PLC (LSE: POG), the second largest gold producer in Russia, reported a net loss of $243.9 million in 2012, compared to $240.5 million of net profit in 2011.

According to Petropavlovsk’s statement, “Net loss on disposals of a number of non-core assets of $26.9 million, $197.9 million fair value write-down of IRC’s net assets and $21.0 million of other impairments in IRC and $109.5 million impairment of Yamal and other non-core assets took their toll … When added to continuing interest expense and depreciation charges, the welcome $487.7 million EBITDA number is transformed into a disappointing loss of $243.9 million.”

The company’s total cash costs for hard-rock assets was $805 per ounce in 2012, a 37% increase from 2011. This was due to a 26% scheduled decrease in processed grades at the RIP and heap-leach operations at the hard-rock projects, an increase in stripping ratios at Pioneer, Malomir and Pokrovskiy mines, and a decrease in recovery rates at Malomir due to the processing of transitional ore types and strong inflationary pressures.

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