UPDATE 1-Silver Wheaton profit lifted by output gains
* Q1 EPS $0.41 vs $0.34 a year earlier
* Q1 revenue up 26 pct to $199.6 mln
* Company says it is scouting for new deals (Adds details on results, analyst estimates)
May 14 (Reuters) - Silver Wheaton Corp reported a 20 percent increase in first-quarter earnings on Monday, driven by increased output from mines with which the stream financing company has silver purchase agreements.
Vancouver-based Silver Wheaton said net income had risen to $147.2 million, or 41 cents a share, from $122.2 million, or 34 cents a share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average had forecast earnings of 44 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company, which helps finance mine construction by giving miners upfront cash in exchange for receiving a portion of the asset's future silver production at a set price, said quarterly revenue had risen 26 percent to $199.6 million.
Silver Wheaton said it was scouting for new deals to build its portfolio of assets, as challenging financial markets have made access to traditional forms of capital, such as debt and equity, much more difficult for miners.
"With approximately $1 billion in cash on hand, a fully undrawn $400 million revolving credit facility, and forecast annual operating cash flows in excess of $600 million at current precious metals prices, Silver Wheaton is exceptionally well-positioned to grow its portfolio of high-quality precious metals streams," Chief Executive Officer Randy Smallwood said in a statement.
The company said its average cash cost per ounce of silver was $4.08, while its average realized silver selling price in the quarter was $32.59.
Payable silver produced but not yet delivered to Silver Wheaton by its partners was about 4.2 million ounces as of March 31.
The company has helped fund Goldcorp Inc's Peñasquito mine in Mexico and Barrick Gold Corp's Pascua-Lama project on the border of Chile and Argentina. (Reporting by Euan Rocha in Toronto; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
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