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WARSAW, March 16 (Reuters) - Europe's second-largest copper producer KGHM on Monday reported an 18 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit to 666 million zlotys ($171 million) due to lower metal prices.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected fourth-quarter net of 667 million zlotys.
The state-controlled miner reported full-year net profit of 2.41 billion zlotys, 21 percent down year-on-year, after the average copper price fell to $6,862 per tonne in 2014, coming in below KGHM's estimates of $7,100.
This year the company expects copper prices to average $6,800 a tonne, or around $1,000 above current levels.
KGHM, also the world's largest silver miner, sees its 2015 copper production at 567,500 tonnes, against last-year's 576,900 tonnes.
The company's sales fell by 2.3 percent year-on-year to 4.79 billion zlotys in the fourth quarter, beating market expectations of 4.54 billion.
The figures represent KGHM's unconsolidated results, generated only by the parent company, without factoring in foreign subsidiaries.
The foreign units had not contributed significantly to profits until the end of last year, when KGHM's biggest overseas asset, the Sierra Gorda mine in Chile, made its first copper shipment.
The unconsolidated results are also the basis for dividend payouts. KGHM earlier on Monday said it planned to pay out 4 zlotys a share this year, versus 5 zlotys a year earlier.
The group sees its 2015 investments at 4.2 billion zlotys, as part of its 27 billion zloty plan aiming at 1 million tonnes of copper output before the end of the decade. ($1 = 3.8914 zlotys) (Reporting by Adrian Krajewski; Editing by David Holmes)