* Posts $253 mln profit after a $167 mln loss in H1 2013
* Says on track to produce up to 1.65 mln oz in 2014
* Sales volumes up 15 pct, revenue down 2 pct
(Adds details, quote and context)
By Andrey Kuzmin
MOSCOW, Aug 22 Russia's Polyus Gold
swung to a profit in the first half of 2014 from a year-ago loss
thanks to higher sales volumes, cost-cutting and a fall in the
rouble, which outweighed a fall in gold prices.
Russia's biggest gold miner, which is part-owned by
businessman Suleiman Kerimov, on Friday reported a net profit of
$253 million for the first six months, compared with a net loss
of $167 million for January-June 2013, when the company had to
record big impairment charges because of a sharp fall in gold
Gold sales volumes increased 15 percent year-on-year to
751,000 troy ounces.
Revenue declined 2 percent to $1 billion, however, due to
lower prices, Polyus said, citing an average price of $1,296 per
troy ounce in the first half, down 14 percent from the first
half of 2013.
Polyus was able to reduce production costs during the first
half by 13 percent to $662 per ounce from $757 a year earlier
thanks in part to a weaker rouble, the company said.
"The company is satisfied with results to date of the
cost-cutting initiatives implemented across its assets in 1H
2014, enabling all of the operations to maintain solid
profitability despite depressed gold prices", Polyus said in the
Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and
amortisation (EBITDA) were down 6 percent to $393 million due to
lower gold prices. The net also benefited by comparison with
last year, when the company recorded large impairment charges.
Polyus added that it remained on track to produce 1.58
million to 1.65 million troy ounces in 2014 and confirmed plans
to launch its vast Natalka project next summer.
Benchmark gold prices in London reached a two-month
low of $1.273.06 this week, hurt by data showing a recovering
U.S. economy and by speculation that the Federal Reserve could
hike interest rates sooner than expected.
(editing by Jane Baird)