Slim's Frisco posts big jump in 1st-quarter net profit

Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:43pm EDT

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(Reuters) - Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim's mining company Minera Frisco said on Monday net profit in the first quarter jumped 220 percent, boosted by foreign exchange bets, more silver and gold production and higher metals prices.

Earnings rose to 701 million pesos ($55 million) in the first three months of 2012, up from 219 million in the same period last year, the company said in a filing with the Mexican stock exchange.

Frisco (MFRISCOA1.MX), which focuses on precious metals, made 523 million pesos from currency hedges on its debt position during the quarter.

Slim, the world's richest man, controls a financial empire built on telecommunications companies that has expanded into retail, banking, construction, real estate and mining.

Frisco was spun off from Slim's Grupo Carso (GCARSOA1.MX) conglomerate early last year.

Sales during the first quarter rose to 2.261 billion pesos, up 21 percent from 1.863 billion in 2011 on higher gold and silver prices, as well as a 13.4 percent jump in gold production and a 3 percent increase in copper output at its mines.

The company said it produced 56,634 ounces of gold in the first quarter mostly from its El Coronel mine, in the central state of Zacatecas.

Frisco produced 1.33 million ounces of silver in the same period, nearly a third of which came from the San Francisco del Oro mine in the northern state of Chihuahua.

Slim's company hedged most of its metal production through 2013 and 2014, but locked in prices below the rallying commodities markets, missing out on bigger profits.

It later tweaked its hedging strategy. "The company has significantly reduced the amount of production it hedges," Frisco said in its first-quarter earnings statement. ($1 = 12.8035 pesos at end March)

(Reporting by Michael O'Boyle and David Alire Garcia; editing by M.D. Golan)

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