* Q3 adj. profit $0.67/share v Street view $0.70/share
* Revenue rises to record $138.1 million
Nov 10 (Reuters) - Molycorp swung to a third-quarter profit on Thursday as it sold more rare earth product at a higher average price, but the company missed analysts’ estimates and shares were down in aftermarket trade.
Net income in the quarter ended Sept. 30 was $48.4 million, or 52 cents a share, up from a loss of $10.1 million, or 15 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.
On an adjusted basis, earnings were 67 cents a share.
Analysts, on average, had expected earnings of 70 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Shares were down 9.3 percent at $35.10 in aftermarket trade on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.
Molycorp reduced its production outlook for the fourth quarter slightly, as some operations at its existing Mountain Pass, California, facility will be shut down while the company brings its new facilities online, said Chief Executive Mark Smith.
“That won’t have any impact on sales because our inventory remains very strong,” he told Reuters. “I think the performance for Molycorp in the fourth quarter is going to look much like in the third quarter.”
The company is in the middle of an $895 million expansion and modernization at the California mine, which will boost production to 19,050 tonnes annually by the end of September 2012.
Rare earths are used in products as diverse as Apple’s iPhone and Toyota’s Prius. China, which produces some 95 percent of world supply, has repeatedly clamped down on exports, sending prices soaring.
Revenue rose to $138.1 million, compared with $8.5 million in 2010, as rare earth oxide and metal prices hit highs in the third quarter.
The company realized overall sales of some 1,400 tonnes of rare earth product, at a record average price of $131.19 per kilogram, Smith said.
He added that due to lower rare earth prices so far in the fourth quarter, the average realized sale price will likely be lower than in the third.
Colorado-based Molycorp produced 1,228 tonnes of rare earth product in the quarter from its operations in the United States and Europe. It expects to produce some 1,313 to 1,702 tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The company currently produces rare earth products from stockpiled material. Once the new facilities at Mountain Pass are complete, the company would have the capacity to produce up to 40,000 tonnes a year, depending on market demand.