SASKATOON (CP) -- Cameco Corp. [TSX:CCO; NYSE:CCJ], the world's biggest uranium producer, reported Wednesday its fourth quarter net profits rose to C$61 million from C$40 million despite lower three-month revenues.
The Saskatoon company said it earned 18 cents a share for the period ended Dec. 31, up from 11 cents a share for the same 2006 period.
That was well below an analyst consensus forecast looking for earning of 46 cents per share in the period, according to Thomson Financial.
Quarterly revenues fell to C$494 million from C$512 million, but the company said it enjoyed improvements in its core uranium business as well as electricity and gold activities.
''In 2007, Cameco's financial results again set new records,'' Jerry Grandey, Cameco's president and CEO, said before stock markets opened Wednesday.
''Our commitment to be a dominant nuclear energy company and the investments we are making in our assets today position us to deliver growing shareholder value in response to the increasing demand for clean, sustainable energy.''
For the full year, Cameco earned a net profit of C$416 million or C$1.18 a share, compared with earnings of C$376 million or C$1.07 a share for 2006.
Annual revenues rose 26% to C$2.3 billion from C$1.8 billion. while yearly production fell to 19.8 million pounds from 20.9 million.
Cameco operates uranium mines and processing mills, is a limited partner in the Bruce Power nuclear energy plant in Ontario, North America's biggest nuclear power project. Cameco also controls Centerra Gold [TSX:CG], a mid-sized miner with operations in central Asia.
Centerra, in which Cameco owns approximately 53%, posted a fourth-quarter loss of US$26.7 million or 12 cents per share, compared with a profit of US$1.9 million or a penny per share the year before.
The loss for the latest period included a US$36.5-million non-cash expense arising from the expected issue of 10 million shares related to the Kumtor agreement.
Without the charge, the company said it earned US$9.7 million or 5 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were expecting earnings of 3 cents per share for the quarter.
Revenues for the quarter were US$89.4 million compared to US$88.4 million in the same quarter of last year.
For the full year, the company reported a loss of US$92.5 million or 43 cents per share compared with a 2006 profit of US$60.6 million or 28 cents per share. Revenues were US$373.5 million, up from US$364.5 million.
Earlier this week, reports emerged that Kyrgyzstan had launched a tax-evasion investigation against the Kumtor mine (see by RI). Centerra Gold CEO Len Homeniuk dismissed reports about a tax probe into the company's Kumtor Gold subsidiary in Central Asia
Centerra shares were down 30 cents at C$14.15 on the TSX Wednesday afternoon, with a 52-week high and low of C$16.08 and C$3.16.
Shares in Cameco were ahead eight cents at C$32.40 in morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
(c) The Canadian Press 2008