Barrick Gold plans cost cutting after $2.6B loss in Q4

TORONTO -- Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) says it plans more debt reduction and cost cutting this year after reporting another quarter of billion-dollar losses.

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The company, among the world's largest gold miners, said after markets closed Wednesday that it had a net loss of US$2.6 billion in the fourth quarter, down from a loss of US$2.85 billion for the fourth quarter of 2014.

The company, which reports in U.S. dollars, said the quarterly loss was driven by a US$2.6-billion after tax impairment charge against some of its assets in the quarter, part of a US$3.1-billion charge announced in January after the company revised its gold price outlook.

Barrick said adjusted net earnings came to US$344 million for the year and US$91 million for the fourth quarter, leading to adjusted per share earnings of 30 cents for the year and eight cents for the quarter.

The company says it reduced its debt by US$3.1 billion last year and is targeting an additional US$2 billion in debt reduction this year and US$5 billion in reductions in the midterm.

It is also targeting all-in sustaining costs of between US$775 and US$825 per ounce this year after costs came in at US$831 per ounce in 2015, $29 under the low end of its cost target.

The company said cost-cutting measures helped to generate positive free cash flow for the first time in four years, with US$471 million in free cash flow for the year.

Also on Wednesday the company announced a quarterly dividend of two cents payable in March.

Barrick has benefited from a surge in gold prices this year, with its share price up almost 59 per cent to close at $16.26 on Wednesday.



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