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UPDATE 2-Molycorp narrows loss as rare earth prices soar
May 10, 2011 / 8:50 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 2-Molycorp narrows loss as rare earth prices soar

* Loss per share $0.03 vs Street view EPS $0.10

* Revenue up more than seven-fold to $26.3 million

* Shares slide in aftermarket trade (Adds CEO comments, details; in U.S. dollars)

TORONTO, May 10 (Reuters) - Shares of Molycorp MCP.N fell more than 5 percent in aftermarket trading on Tuesday, after the company narrowed its quarterly loss on soaring rare earth oxide prices, but missed analyst expectations.

The rare earth miner posted a net loss of $909,000, or 3 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $7.7 million, or 16 cents a share.

Excluding items, adjusted earnings were $2 million, or 1 cent a share. That compared with adjusted earnings of $2.2 million, or 3 cents a share, for the same quarter of 2010.

Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of 10 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Molycorp shares fell 5.68 percent to $62.90 on the New York Stock Exchange in aftermarket trading on Tuesday, after falling 7.17 percent to $66.47 during the day. The shares are up 24 percent since the beginning of the year.

Revenue for the quarter rose more than seven-fold to $26.3 million, boosted by a 65 percent increase in sales volume and soaring rare earth oxide prices.

Chief executive Mark Smith told Reuters that he expects sales to increase in the second and third quarters.

“The first quarter is always a very, very slow quarter in this business,” he said. “The end of March, first part of April is when you really see business pick up again.”

He noted that the company had cash flows of $5.2 million for the quarter ended March 31 and that those will help with capital needs going forward.

Molycorp is in the process of modernizing and reopening the Mountain Pass mine in California, which produced rare earths up until the early 2000s. Rare earths are essential for technologies like hybrid cars and smartphones.

Molycorp produced 925 tonnes of rare earth products in the first quarter and sold 696 tonnes. It expects to produce up to 1,408 tonnes in the second quarter and said annual production would be between 4,541 and 5,813 tonnes.

The company said that the earthquake and tsunami in Japan may have had a short-term impact on market demand, but said that should fully recover in the fourth quarter.

“Our company has in fact turned a corner,” said Smith. “We will be in a very positive financial condition going forward the rest of this year.” (Reporting by Julie Gordon; editing by Rob Wilson)

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