UPDATE 2-Inmet profit boosted by higher copper price

Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:26pm EST

* Q4 EPS C$2.53 vs C$1.60 a yr-ago

* Sales rise 9 pct to C$318.1 mln

TORONTO Feb 23 (Reuters) - Inmet Mining IMN.TO said on Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit rose on the back of higher copper prices and strong results from its Las Cruces copper mine in Spain.

The Canadian miner said net income in the quarter ended Dec. 31 rose to C$144.5 million ($146 million), or C$2.53 a share, compared with a year-ago profit of C$89.8 million, or C$1.60 a share.

Inmet and rival Lundin Mining (LUN.TO) announced plans to merge last month, creating a Canadian copper mining major called Symterra, worth roughly C$9 billion. Shareholders of both companies are scheduled to vote on the proposed deal on March 14.

Inmet said sales in the quarter rose 9 percent to C$318.1 million, as increased copper production more than offset the impact of lower zinc and gold output.

The company said it expects copper and zinc production in 2011 to be roughly flat at 94,000 tonnes and 81,000 tonnes respectively.

($1=$0.99 Canadian) (Reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Rob Wilson)

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