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Silver Wheaton Q4 Profit Rises - Update

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Silver Wheaton Corp. (SLW: Quote,SLW.TO: Quote) Wednesday reported a fourth-quarter profit that more-than-doubled from last year, due mainly on higher selling prices of gold and silver. Earnings for the quarter were in line with analysts' expectations, while revenues fell short of estimates.

Selling prices for silver and gold during the quarter increased 22 percent and 24 percent, respectively, from last year. Production also improved 12 percent to 6.9 million ounces - 6.7 million ounces of silver and 3,900 ounces of gold. Cash operating margins for silver improved 25 percent from last year, which the company attributed to its leverage to increasing silver prices.

Revenues for the quarter grew 28 percent to $191.9 million, but below analysts' estimate of $204.6 million.

The Vancouver, Canada-based silver streaming company's net earnings for the fourth quarter surged to $144.7 million or $0.41 per share from $63.9 million or $0.18 per share last year. On average, ten analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.41 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Adjusted net earnings for the prior year quarter were $120.7 million or $0.35 per share.

Looking forward, Silver Wheaton anticipates a 6 percent increase in its 2012 attributable production to about 27 million silver equivalent ounces, including 16,500 ounces of gold.

The company also declared a dividend of $0.09 per share, payable on or about April 17 to shareholders as of April 4. The dividend represents 20 percent of the cash generated during the fourth quarter.

SLW closed Thursday's trading on the NYSE at $31.98, down 2.47%, on a volume of 4.5 million shares. The stock gained 1.00% in after-hours trade.

On Toronto Stock Exchange, SLW closed trading at C$31.98, down 1.84% on a volume of about a million shares.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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