May 15, 2013 / 12:45 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-First Majestic cuts spending as silver prices fall

* Cuts capital expenditure by 16 pct to $162.3 mln

* Says capex cut to not affect 2013 production outlook

* First-quarter revenue rises 16 pct

May 15 (Reuters) - Canada’s First Majestic Silver Corp cut its 2013 capital expenditure estimate by 16 percent due to a drop in silver prices and said it could make further cuts later in the year.

First Majestic joins a growing list of gold and silver miners cutting costs to protect earnings in the face of falling precious metal prices.

Gold prices have fallen 15 percent this year, while silver prices have dropped 23 percent.

Vancouver-based First Majestic cut its expenditure estimate to $162.3 million from $192.3 million.

The company said it will reduce exploration and development activities but the capital expenditure cut will not affect ongoing expansion projects.

The Mexico-focused miner said it remained on track to produce 11.1 million to 11.7 million silver ounces in 2013.

The company also reported a modest rise in first-quarter profit. Net income rose to $26.5 million, or 23 cents per basic share, during January-March from $26.4 million, or 25 cents per basic share, a year earlier.

The company had 11 percent more outstanding shares in the first quarter compared with a year earlier.

Revenue rose 16 percent to $67.1 million on higher production.

First Majestic, which operates five silver mines in Mexico, said in April production rose 33 percent to 2.4 million ounces in the first quarter while average realized prices fell 10 percent to $29.63 per ounce.

Silver prices have fallen 7.8 percent in January-March from a year earlier to average $30.08 per ounce, while gold price have dropped 3.5 percent to average $1631.33 per ounce.

Cash costs for the precious metal rose 6 percent to $9.49 per ounce.

First Majestic shares closed at C$11.45 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The company’s New York-listed shares closed at $11.23.

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