UPDATE 1-Copper miner Grupo Mexico's first-quarter profit falls 15.4 pct

Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:18pm EDT

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MEXICO CITY, April 26 (Reuters) - Mexican copper miner and railroad operator Grupo Mexico reported on Friday first-quarter profit of $601 million, down 15.4 percent compared with the same period last year on lower sales and a drop in metals prices.

Grupo said revenues for the January-March period were $2.46 billion, down 10.5 percent from the year-earlier quarter, according to a filing with the Mexican stock exchange.

Grupo Mexico's sales fell 15 percent to $1.96 billion, down from $2.31 billion during the same period last year.

The company said lower metals prices during the quarter, driven in part by European economic woes and lower demand from China, contributed to the drop in profit.

Copper prices dropped by 5 percent, silver by 8 percent, and molybdenum by 20 percent, compared with average prices during the first quarter of 2012.

"In the short term, (metals) prices will continue to be influenced by macroeconomic news from across the world, but we think that the fundamentals of the industry have not changed and will remain solid during 2013," the company said in its filing.

Grupo Mexico added that capital investments in its mining division increased by 84 percent during the quarter, totaling $366 million.

Copper production in the quarter was down 3 percent, to nearly 195,000 tonnes.

Late last month, the company said it expects to produce 850,000 tonnes of copper this year, a volume that would allow Grupo Mexico to become world's second-biggest copper producer by 2015.

Grupo Mexico's share price closed 1.55 percent lower at 42.52 pesos per share on Friday, before the company reported its first-quarter results.

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