Canadian uranium producer Cameco's profit misses estimate

(Reuters) - Canada's Cameco Corp CCO.TOCCJ.N reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit, hurt by weak uranium prices.

Cameco’s fourth-quarter uranium sales rose 4.5 percent to 11.7 million pounds, but its average realized uranium price fell 18 percent to $38.04 per pound.

Uranium prices fell more than 50 percent post 2011’s Fukushima meltdown and have since remained depressed, largely due to oversupply and excess inventory in the industry. The disaster led to shutdowns of all of Japan’s nuclear reactors.

Last week, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) 9501.T, operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, scrapped its uranium supply contract with Cameco.

Tepco’s cancellation of the contract, which accounts for less than 3 percent of Cameco’s global sales, is expected to affect about 9.3 million pounds of deliveries through 2028, worth about C$1.3 billion ($989.27 million) in revenue.

Net loss attributable to Cameco’s shareholders was C$144 million, or 36 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 23 Canadian cents per share, below the average analyst estimate of 26 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company’s revenue fell 9 percent to C$887 million, slightly missing analysts’ estimate of C$888 million.

Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Maju Samuel