''We love to pay dividends. We want to be the top dividend-paying stock in the gold business,'' Boyd told shareholders at the company's annual meeting Friday.
He said Agnico-Eagle is ''at the crest of seeing a substantial increase in its gold production'' and does not need higher gold prices to be successful.
''We're not counting on higher gold prices to hold this together and make it all work,'' Boyd said.
Nor does the company need any help from outside at this point to grow, Boyd said.
''We don't need anybody's people, we don't need anybody's money and we don't need anybody's property,'' he said. ''That's an extremely strong position to be in.''
Boyd expects gold reserves at the company's existing projects to grow from the current 15.4 million ounces up to 20 million ounces in the next two years, and expects annual production in increase five times to more than 1.2 million ounces, with five new gold mines in production.
''We've got the best growth profile in the business,'' he said.
''We wouldn't trade our position right now with anybody in the gold business.''
The company reported a first-quarter profit of US$24.9 million Thursday, down by one-third from last year. It blamed the decline in part on a non-cash derivative loss of US$6.1-million loss, amounting to about five cents per share, in ending a hedge position.
''This loss was due to the derivative position put in place to effectively extinguish the gold hedge position held by Cumberland Resources Ltd.,'' the company said in a release Wednesday.
The year-ago result benefited from a US$15.4-million investment gain.
Agnico-Eagle, which has operations in Canada, Mexico, Finland and the United States, has significant gold and silver reserves, and a major part of the company's strategy is to avoid politically risky areas, said Boyd.
''We just take a big X on the globe and we scratch out a lot of places,'' he said, although the company may increase the risk profile slightly in the next five years.
''We will be very selective given our past history,'' he said.
Asked if the company could be a takeover target, Boyd said it has no plan to implement a ''poison pill.''
''There isn't a weakness to exploit, so if someone wants to own it, they have to pay for it,'' Boyd said.
He told shareholders that Agnico-Eagle is worth C$3.5 billion more than its current market value of about C$5 billion.
Analysts also appear to think the company has a shiny future.
Richard Gray, an analyst with Blackmont Capital, upgraded the stock to "buy" from "hold" in a note to investors today.
"Since the Cumberland acquisition in mid-February, the shares have decreased 17% to a level we now find attractive," Gray said, adding the stock has the potential for a return of 22% with a 12-month target price of C$48.
CIBC analyst Barry Cooper rates Agnico-Eagle a sector performer, but does not expect production to grow for another year.
"With one of the best production profiles in the industry, AEM remains a solid investment for any gold portfolio," Cooper wrote in a note to investors today.
"Valuations, however, may limit the share performance in the short term until new production is closer at hand."
Cooper also said the company is trading below its fair value.
"Any weakness in the shares should be considered a buying opportunity for what is a fundamentally strong firm," Cooper wrote.
"The disconnect between gold price and share price movements, however, is disconcerting with bullion once again beating the companies. An exploration update next month could be a new catalyst."
Cooper said earnings for the quarter, which fell below analyst expectations, were likely due to lower zinc prices, a view shared by analyst Nawojka Wachowiak of BMO Capital Markets, who noted zinc production was four per cent below BMO's expectations as the company mined lower-grade ore than forecast.
Wachowiak and Cooper both have price targets of C$50 for the stock.
Shares in Agnico-Eagle, fell 87 cents or 2.1% to C$39.70 in midday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
(c) The Canadian Press 2007