First Majestic Silver expects 2013 output to rise faster than last year's growth

VANCOUVER – First Majestic Silver Corp. (TSX:FR) estimates its output this year will be nearly 40 per cent higher than in 2012 which was, in turn, 20 per cent higher than in 2011.

The Vancouver-based company, which has five operating mines in Mexico, expects to produce the equivalent of between 12.3 million and 13 million ounces of silver in 2013, including other metals mined as a by-product.

That is up from 9.1 million silver-equivalent ounces in 2012 and 7.5 million in 2011.

The 2012 average realized price per ounce of silver was $31.10, down 12 per cent from US$35.38 in 2011. However, there was an improvement in the fourth quarter, when the average realized price was $32.42 — up from $31.70 in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The company is using a $32 per ounce price assumption in its estimates.

Last year’s output included 2.6 million silver-equivalent ounces in the fourth quarter, up from 2.1 million in the year-earlier quarter.

First Majestic, which reports in U.S. currency, also said Tuesday it had US$22.4 million of net earnings in the fourth quarter, or 19 cents per share, with US$71 million of revenue.

A year earlier, it had $21.3 million of net income, or 20 cents per share, with less stock outstanding, on $60.8 million of revenue in the fourth quarter.

For the full year, First Majestic’s profit was US$88.9 million or 80 cents per share with US$247.2 million of revenue. That compares with year-earlier net income of $103.6 million or $1 per share with $245.5 million revenue.

First Majestic shares were down 53 cents at C$17.26 near midday Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.