October 25, 2016 / 12:37 PM / 2 years ago

REFILE-UPDATE 1-Miner Freeport-McMoRan cuts sales forecast for 2016

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Oct 25 (Reuters) - Diversified U.S. miner Freeport-McMoRan Inc reported a weaker-than-expected quarterly profit and said it expects to sell less gold, copper and molybdenum this year.

The miner now expects to sell about 4.8 billion pounds of copper and 1.26 million ounces of gold, down from its earlier estimate of 5 billion pounds of copper and 1.7 million ounces of gold.

Freeport now expects to sell 73 million pounds of molybdenum compared with its earlier forecast of 76 million pounds.

Like other miners, Freeport has been hit hard in recent years by a downturn in prices for commodities, including copper, gold and oil, at a time when its debt had soared on the back of acquisitions.

The world’s biggest publicly listed copper producer, which had a debt of $19 billion as of Sept. 30, unveiled in July a $1.5 billion share issue to help cut its debt and shift focus from its high-profile asset sales plan.

Phoenix-based Freeport, which is under pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn, also cut a quarter of jobs in its oil and gas business in April and suspended its dividend in December.

The company’s net income attributable to shareholders was $217 million, or 16 cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $3.83 billion, or $3.58 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 13 cents per share, below analysts’ average estimate of 18 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 14.6 percent to $3.88 billion. (Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru and Nicole Mordant in Vancouver; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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