UPDATE 1-Russia's Nord Gold full-year profit tumbles 70 pct

Fri Mar 1, 2013 4:02am EST

* FY net profit falls to $75.98 mln

* Q4 loss at $47.27 mln versus profit year ago

* Board recommends 2012 dividend of $0.118 per share

MOSCOW, March 1 (Reuters) - Nord Gold, Russia's third largest gold miner, said on Friday net profit for 2012 fell 70 percent to $75.98 million compared with the previous year, citing increased costs and mechanical issues which affected production.

The firm said a fall in sales and rising costs had led to a loss of $47.27 million in the fourth quarter compared with profit of $78.3 million in the same quarter of 2011.

Analysts had expected the company to post $43.8 million in quarterly net profit.

Nord Gold, controlled by billionaire Alexei Mordashov, was spun off from Mordashov-owned Severstal in 2012 and listed its global depositary receipts (GDRs) in London as part of expansion plans.

Revenue for the year was flat at $1.198 billion. Production fell 5 percent year-on year to 716.9 thousand gold equivalent ounces, the company said in a statement on Friday.

"While we are not fully satisfied with the full year production number, the investment we have made across our portfolio in particular in the first half, will pay dividends in the long term," Nord Gold Chief Executive Nikolai Zelenski said in a statement.

Unusually for major Russian gold miners, Nord Gold, a relative newcomer, has bet heavily on Africa, with assets in Guinea and Burkina Faso.

The firm said on Friday its net debt stood at $680.51 million in the fourth quarter, almost four times up year-on-year, due in part to construction work at its Bissa project in Burkina Faso.

The firm's board recommended paying a dividend for the last year of $0.118 per share, the company said.

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