Nov 7 Rare earths producer Molycorp Inc
has seen demand and prices for its products rise from their
second-quarter lows, the company's chief executive said on
Thursday, although the company reported a wider third-quarter
A Chinese government crackdown on illegal mining and
smuggling of rare earths has helped "a semblance of stability"
return to industry demand and prices, Constantine
Karayannopoulos, the company's interim CEO, said.
Produced primarily in China, rare earths are an essential
part of many high-tech products including smartphones, tablets
and hybrid vehicles. Prices skyrocketed in 2010 and early 2011
as China clamped down on exports, but it then eased export
controls causing prices to drop steeply.
"We haven't gotten what I would consider an historical
normal yet. But it certainly looks and feels like we are on our
way towards that," Karayannopoulos said in an interview.
He said the second quarter was the "worst quarter we have
seen in recent memory."
Molycorp on Thursday reported a third-quarter loss
attributable to common shareholders of $65.5 million, or 43
cents a share, compared with a loss of $11.5 million, or 19
cents, a year earlier.
Excluding items such as inventory write-downs, the company
reported an adjusted loss of $45.9 million, or 27 cents a share,
compared with a loss of $6.1 million, or 5 cents, a year
Revenue fell to $149.1 million from $205.2 million in the
third quarter of 2012. But revenue was up 9 percent from the
Analysts, on average, had expected a loss of 29 cents a
share at the Greenwood Village, Colorado-based company, on
revenue of $161 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Karayannopoulos said the ramp-up of Molycorp's main mine,
Mountain Pass in California, is still on track for full
commissioning in the current quarter. The $1.25 billion Mountain
Pass expansion could make Molycorp much more competitive on
Geoff Bedford, Molycorp's current chief operating officer,
will take over as CEO on Dec. 2.
Molycorp shares ended down 1.2 percent at $4.76 on the New
York Stock Exchange on Thursday ahead of the results. The stock
has fallen about 48 percent this year.