Uranium market conditions in 2016 were the toughest that Cameco Corp. CEO Tim Gitzel has seen in his 30 years in the business, but he says he remains cautiously optimistic about the long-term picture.
“We’ve been saying for some time that uranium prices are neither rational nor sustainable,” Gitzel told investors during a conference call Friday to discuss its dismal 2016 earnings. “Current prices are failing to incent the investment decisions required to ensure reliable supply is available to meet growing demand out into the future.”
Cameco reported a fourth-quarter net loss attributable to shareholders of $144 million, or 36 cents per share, which was more than 10 times larger than the loss of $10 million, or three cents per share, reported in the year-earlier period. The fourth quarter of 2016 included an impairment charge of $238 million. The company booked a $210 million impairment charge in the 2015 quarter.
Revenues fell nine per cent to $887 million during the quarter. The company’s full-year loss was $62 million.
Still, Cameco said it is encouraged by Kazakhstan’s announcement that it will cut 2017 production by 10 per cent, bolstering optimism about long-term fundamentals of uranium. Spot prices have increased by 40 per cent and term prices are up about eight per cent since a low in December.
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