CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-Hecla to hedge precious metal shipments after surprise loss

Fri Aug 9, 2013 9:03pm EDT

(Corrects spelling of analyst's name in paragraph 8 to Kaip from Caip)

* Hecla to lock in prices during shipments: CFO

* Reduces 2013 capex by 13 pct, rival Coeur cuts by 18 pct

* Q2 adj loss $0.03/shr vs est profit $0.01/shr

* Hecla shares rise as much as 7 pct

Aug 8 (Reuters) - Hecla Mining Co said it has started to hedge its precious metal shipments after a drastic fall in spot prices pushed the company to report a surprise loss.

Shares of the company rose as much as 7 percent on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

The No.2 U.S. silver miner by output said it sold 40 percent of its silver production of 2.2 million ounces only in June and at prices much below the average price for the quarter.

This magnified the lower realized price, Chief Financial Officer James Sabala said on a post-earnings conference call with analysts.

Realized silver prices fell 40 percent to $16.27 per ounce for the company, while the broader spot market prices fell about 21 percent to average $23.17 per ounce.

Bigger rival Coeur, the largest U.S. silver miner by output, said realized price fell about 23 percent to $22.86 per ounce.

Hecla also said it had a negative $15.1 million provisional price adjustment due to the time lag between shipping the concentrates for processing and actual sale of the metal.

"It takes about 4-6 weeks for (concentrates) to get processed. The reality is that the metal prices were a lot lower 4-6 weeks into the second quarter," BMO Capital Markets Canada analyst Andrew Kaip said.

"So you are getting dinged for the differential."

Hecla currently hedges base metals such as lead and zinc that it mines as a by-product of silver production.

The company cut its annual capital spending budget to $129 million from the $145 million it forecast in May for its Greens Creek mine in Alaska and Lucky Friday mine in Idaho.

Coeur, which also posted a loss, lowered its capital spending by 18 percent to $100 million-$110 million for 2013 and expects to spend less than $80 million next year.

Miners around the world are under intense pressure to reduce capital spending and operating costs due to volatile commodity prices and lower-grade ores.

Excluding one-time items, Hecla posted a loss of 3 cents per share, while analysts on average had expected earnings of 1 cent per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Coeur posted a net loss of $35 million, or 35 cents per share, compared with a profit of $23 million, or 26 cents per share, a year earlier.

Metal sales at Coeur declined about 20 percent, while it rose 27 percent at Hecla. (Reporting by Garima Goel in Bangalore; Editing by Sreejiraj Eluvangal and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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