Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 04/24/2013

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Barrick Gold Q1 Results Conference Call. During the presentation, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded, Wednesday, April 24, 2013.

I'll now turn the conference over to Greg Panagos, Senior VP, Investor Relations and Communications. Please go ahead, Sir.

Greg Panagos - SVP, IR and Communications: Thank you, Dave, and good afternoon everyone. Welcome to our first quarter 2013 earnings conference call. Before we begin, I would like to point out that we will be making forward-looking statements during the course of this presentation. For a complete discussion of the risks, uncertainties, and factors which may lead to our actual financial results and performance being different from the estimates contained in our forward-looking statements, please refer to our latest year-end report or our most recent AIF filing.

I am here today with our President and CEO, Jamie Sokalsky; our Senior Executive Vice President Kelvin Dushnisky; our Executive VP and CFO Ammar Al-Joundi; our Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer, Igor Gonzales; and our Senior VP of Global Exploration, Rob Krcmarov, all of whom will be available to answer questions after the presentation.

With that I'll hand it over to Jamie.

Jamie C. Sokalsky - President and CEO: Thanks, Greg and thanks to everyone for joining us today. Our first quarter results were very strong, exceeding our targets, both financial and operationally and today we also announced the declaration of a dividend for the quarter of $0.20 per share. The results reflect our high quality asset portfolio and importantly our aggressive cost management focus, which has successfully been instilled throughout the Company.

While these results are a good start to the year, we are disappointed with our weak share price performance. Gold's recent sharp decline triggered a selloff across the gold equities but our share price has underperformed on a relative basis, and I would like to address a couple of the reasons for that. Clearly, a contributing factor to this was the suspension of construction on the Chilean side of Pascua-Lama in response to a court ordered preliminary injunction just as gold was falling. We recognize the need to eliminate the uncertainty created by this injunction and we are taking a hard look at all of our alternatives including materially reducing the rate of spend or if even suspending construction for the entire project. The share price has suffered in the wake of lower gold prices and uncertainty related to Pascua-Lama, but I do want to point out some important positives.

We continue to maintain our investment-grade balance sheet and sufficient financial flexibility including good access to the debt capital markets to meet our objectives; and our underlying business anchored by a core base of five mines that rank among the most profitable gold operations in the world are performing very well and generating strong cash flow. We remain positive on Gold's long-term outlook but we don't rely on these higher prices. Barrick is focused on cost management. It's a key element of our disciplined capital allocation framework and our operating teams around the world have done an exceptional job at controlling costs.

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