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B2Gold adjusted 4Q profit rises with sales, prices; dividend announced

Kitco News

(Kitco News) - B2Gold Corp. (TSX: BTO; NYSE AMERICAN: BTG; NSX: B2G) late Thursday reported a significant jump in its fourth-quarter adjusted net profit as gold prices and sales both rose from the same period a year ago.

Adjusted net income was put at $69 million, or seven cents a share, compared to $3 million, or zero cents, in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Consolidated gold revenue from continuing operations was $314 million on sales of 211,800 ounces at an average price of $1,481 per ounce, B2Gold said. This was up from $231 million on sales of 188,029 ounces at an average price of $1,228 per ounce in the fourth quarter of 2018.

“The significant increase in gold revenue of $83 million (36%) was mainly attributable to a 21% increase in the average realized gold price and 13% increase in gold ounces sold,” the company said in its earnings statement.

When including the discontinued operations of El Limon and La Libertad, gold revenue was $324 million on sales of 218,437 ounces at an average realized price of $1,482 per ounce.

“The company also reinforced its commitment to maximizing shareholder value by declaring its first quarterly dividend in the fourth quarter of 2019 and announcing its intention to maintain the payment of a quarterly dividend going forward,” B2Gold said.

On Thursday, the company’s board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of a penny per share, payable on March 23 to shareholders of record as of March 9.

B2Gold, which had previously released data on gold production and revenue, forecast total gold output of between 1 million and 1.055 million ounces in 2020. This would be up from record output in 2019 of 980,219 ounces, which topped guidance of 935,000 to 975,000 ounces. B2Gold noted that 2019 was its 11th consecutive year of record production.

The company said cash flow from operations rose to a record $492 million in 2019 due to the higher production, “disciplined cost control at all projects” and higher gold prices. Officials said cash flow should increase further in 2020. Assuming a gold price of $1,500 per ounce, which is below the current level, B2Gold said it expects to generate cash flow from operating activities of approximately $700 million in 2020.

“B2Gold has also continued to execute on its financial strategy of using debt and operating cash flow from existing operations, rather than equity, to fund the construction of the Fekola and Otjikoto mines,” B2Gold said. “B2Gold utilized its cash flows from operations to reduce total debt, including equipment loans and leases, by $220 million, from approximately $480 million at the beginning of the year to $260 million by year-end.”

In December, the Fekola Mine exceeded 1 million ounces of gold production since the start of ore processing in September 2017, achieving this milestone a full year ahead of the original production schedule, B2Gold said.

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