Barrick beats estimates after a tumultuous time for gold

Pure gold coins. Picture taken by digitalmoneyworld/Creative Commons
Pure gold coins. Picture taken by digitalmoneyworld/Creative Commons

Barrick Gold Corp. reported a whopping 90 percent decrease in its first quarter earnings as gold sales volume and metal prices fell.

Net income dropped to $88 million, or 8 cents per share, compared with $847 million, or 85 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Nonetheless, adjusted earnings per share of 20 cents beat the analysts’ estimate of 19 cents, according to Yahoo! Finance.

Its revenue for the first quarter was $2.63 billion, a 23 percent decrease from $3.40 billion in the same period previous year.

The Toronto-based gold production and distribution company said the drop in sales and earnings were due to “the impact of lower metal prices and lower gold sales volumes.”

Among Barrick’s ongoing issues is the shuttering of its troubled Pascua-Lama gold mine in Chile, which cost the company $30 million in the first quarter and is expected to cost a total of $300 million for the full year.

Another is the price of gold, which fell to a two-month low last week and is down 11 percent from a year ago. Gold spot prices traded at $1,291.30 per ounce, a $4.65 drop as of 4:00 p.m. EST on Apr. 30, 2014.

On Monday Barrick announced that its two-decade-long merger talks with Newmont Mining Corp., another key gold company, fell through. According to The Wall Street Journal, some speculate this may be a result of internal issues in the companies’ corporate governance.

“We are extremely focused on improving and strengthening our business,” said Jamie Sokalsky, president and CEO, during a conference call Wednesday.

Barrick founder and chairman Peter Munk bid farewell to shareholders at the annual meeting in Toronto. Munk is retiring after 31 years with the company.

Barrick shares closed Wednesday at $17.47, down 20 cents.

Graph of Barrick's stock prices in the last month
Graph of Barrick’s stock prices in the last month

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