UPDATE 1-Russia's Norilsk plans $500 mln share buyback as profit jumps
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MOSCOW, March 31 (Reuters) - Russia's Norilsk Nickel plans to buy back up to $500 million of its shares in 2015, it said on Tuesday, after 2014 earnings jumped due to a weaker rouble and higher metals prices.
As a major exporter, Norilsk has benefited from a 40 percent fall in the rouble against the dollar since mid-2014 as its costs declined in dollar terms and its products became more competitive on global markets.
"Management focus on financial efficiency backed by a favourable foreign exchange rate movement resulted in a strong EBITDA growth to $5.7 billion," Vladimir Potanin, Norilsk chief executive, said in a statement.
Its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 35 percent year-on-year, beating an average estimate of $5.4 billion in a Reuters poll.
Its net profit almost tripled to $2 billion, while net profit adjusted for non-cash items reached $4 billion and revenue was up 3 percent to $11.9 billion.
Norilsk, part-owned by Russian tycoon Potanin and aluminium producer Rusal, is the world's second-largest nickel producer after Brazilian miner Vale SA and the world's largest palladium producer.
Norilsk said shares for its buyback would be purchased from the market and were expected to be cancelled afterwards. It did not provide further details. (Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Alexander Winning and David Evans)
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