* To place offer for Kazakh concession before year-end
* Sees CAPEX at key Sierra Gorda project topping $3 bln plan
* Posts in-line Q3 standalone and group net profit (Adds info on planned Kazakh project, other)
By Agnieszka Barteczko and Adrian Krajewski
WARSAW, Nov 12 (Reuters) - KGHM, Europe’s No.2 copper producer, is seeking an acquisition in Kazakhstan to help it reach its long-flagged target of 700,000 tonnes of annual copper output by 2018, it said on Monday.
“We are preparing to place an offer for a concession in Kazakhstan,” Chief Executive Herbert Wirth told TVN CNBC channel. “I think we will place an offer before the end of this year.”
The state-controlled miner is currently the world’s ninth-largest copper producer and Europe’s No.2, with output at 527,000 tonnes, following its acquisition earlier this year of Canadian rival Quadra FNX for C$3 billion dollars ($3 billion).
The acquisition now named KGHM International comprises the key Chilean Sierra Gorda project and other assets in Chile, Canada and the United States.
The miner pegged its net profit forecast for 2012 just below market expectations at 4.74 billion zlotys ($1.5 billion) and posted on Monday in-line net earnings of 1.12 billion in the third quarter.
The company expects 2013 net profit to be on a par with this year even accounting for a 3 billion zlotys capital spending spree ahead of Sierra Gorda’s launch planned for the first quarter of 2014.
KGHM expects total capital expenditures for Sierra Gorda - one of the world’s largest copper projects - to top the planned $3 billion.
Costs for the project are split with its partner Japan’s Sumitomo.
“I do not know any example of a mining project where the owner or the project’s management said the final capex was lower than (originally) planned,” KGHM International’s deputy chief Jaroslaw Romanowski told a news conference.
KGHM, the world’s largest silver miner, also plans a three-month maintenance shutdown at its top Glogow smelter next year, with the market awaiting the miner’s decision about future financing.
CEO Wirth has said KGHM, which has little debt but is facing a 1.5 billion zlotys payment for a new mining tax introduced in March in Poland, is leaning towards a bond issue rather than a loan. ($1=3.2702 zlotys = C$1.00) (Writing by Adrian Krajewski; Editing by Mike Nesbit)