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Oct 27, 2017

Cameco shares drop after surprise Q3 loss on weak uranium prices

‘Where money goes to die’: Money manager on Cameco

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Cameco Corp (CCO.TO) reported a surprise quarterly loss and cut its full-year production outlook on Friday as uranium prices extended their slump, driving its shares down 12 per cent.

The global uranium industry is locked in a six-year tailspin, dating back to the 2011 tsunami that caused Japan to shutter all of its nuclear reactors, some of which have since restarted.

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) in February scrapped a supply contract with Cameco, the world's second-biggest uranium producer, worth about $1.3 billion in revenue through 2028.

"We can't control the timing of a market recovery so we continue to focus on .. being as streamlined and efficient as possible," Cameco Chief Executive Tim Gitzel said in a statement.

Cameco's Toronto-listed shares plunged 12 per cent at $9.97, touching their lowest since January 2016.

“I don’t know why you really want to be invested in this name at this particular point in time,” Steve DiGregorio, portfolio manager at Canoe Financial told BNN in an interview Friday. "I think this is where money goes to die. You’re better off to put money somewhere else."

Cameco has already lowered guidance a few times, but still managed to disappoint, said Rob Chang, analyst at Cantor Fitzgerald.

"Things appear to be worse than they say it is," he said. "It seems the market, whoever is left in uranium, is hoping they were going to see at least neutral signs, if not positive signs."

Saskatchewan-based Cameco's third-quarter uranium sales volume fell 1 percent to 9.2 million pounds, and its average realized price for the metal fell 26 per cent to $41.66 per pound.

Revenue dropped 27.5 per cent to $486 million.

The company now expects full-year production of 24 million pounds, compared with its previous forecast of 25.2 million pounds.

Cameco's net loss was $124 million, or 31 cents per share, in the third quarter, compared with a profit of $142 million, or 36 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company lost 13 cents per share. Analysts had expected a profit of 5 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

- with files from BNN.ca