UPDATE 1-First Quantum profit surges on higher copper, gold sales

Tue Mar 5, 2013 5:41pm EST

March 5 (Reuters) - First Quantum Minerals Ltd, which is engaged in a hostile takeover bid for rival base metal miner Inmet Mining Corp, reported a 146 percent jump in quarterly profit, helped by higher copper and gold sales.

Net earnings attributable to shareholders rose to $186.7 million, or 39 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, from $76 million, or 16 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 37 percent to $774.6 million.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 33 cents per share and revenue of $830.4 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Copper sales for the quarter rose 18 percent to 77,570 tonnes, while gold sales rose 25 percent to 61,350 ounces. The company also expects capital expenditure of about $2 billion in 2013.

Last week, First Quantum extended its hostile C$5.1 billion ($4.97 billion) bid for Inmet by a few days.

The cash-and-stock bid, worth C$72 per share when the deal was announced in mid-December, topped First Quantum's two prior offers.

If First Quantum succeeds with its bid, the company would gain control of the Cobre Panama project. The massive project in the central American country has one of the world's largest undeveloped copper deposits, which would ease the company's dependence on sites in Africa, particularly Zambia.

First Quantum shares closed at C$18.08 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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