* Newcrest posts FY2014 net loss of $A2.653 billion
* Says aiming to better gold mine productivity this year
* Gold output flat at best in FY2015 (Adds ceo quotes, details, share price)
SYDNEY, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Australia’s Newcrest Mining Ltd posted an expected A$2.6 billion ($2.4 billion) net loss after writing down the value of its gold mines, and forecast flat gold production at best this year as it strives to improve productivity.
Newcrest, which flagged a raft of one-off asset impairments to the market on July 24, has embarked on a company wide improvement programme, including a review of its giant Lihir mine, located in Papua New Guinea.
“While we have realised some initial operating improvements, I am not satisfied with either the current operating performance or the cash generation of the business,” Newcrest Chief Executive Sandeep Biswas said in a statement.
Newcrest blamed the loss mostly on A$2.35 billion of asset impairments at its Lihir, Telfer, Bonikro and Hidden Valley mines.
Its underlying profit dipped to $432 million, down from $451 million a year ago.
The miner said gold production is expected to be in the range of 2.2 to 2.4 million ounces in 2015, compared with 2.396 million ounces 2014.
The most significant component of the write downs related to Lihir, which produced 175,000 ounces of gold in the last quarter - above its other mines - but also represented the highest costs per ounce.
Newcrest shares dipped a little over 1 percent to A$11.04 against a slightly firmer market in early trading on Monday.
1 US dollar = 1.0733 Australian dollar Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Richard Pullin