Australia's biggest gold miner has reported a record statutory profit, helped by its acquisition of Lihir Gold and high gold prices, though Newcrest Mining's underlying profit was not as strong.
Newcrest has delivered a net profit after tax of $908 million for the 12 months to June 30, up 63 per cent from $557 million for the previous financial year.
Its underlying profit was up by 36 per cent to $1.06 billion, while earnings per share (on underlying profit) actually fell by eight per cent to 147.3 cents.
The company said the result was due to the successful integration of mines acquired from Lihir Gold in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Ivory Coast, as well as a solid operating performance.
The underlying profit was almost identical to market expectations, City Index chief market analyst Peter Esho said, while investment research group Morningstar had forecast $1.063 billion and UBS had tipped $1.09 billion.
Mr Esho said a 40 per cent jump in profit was expected in 2011/12.
"At the margin level, there is no doubt the current increase in gold price will help boost profits," he said.
Newcrest's gold production guidance for this financial year of 2.775 million to 2.925 million ounces (oz), up from 2.527 million oz in 2010/11, reflected the integration of Lihir assets and increased output from new mines at Ridgeway Deeps in NSW and Hidden Valley in PNG.
Morningstar analyst Mathew Hodge said the gold production forecast was in line with expectations, but copper guidance of 75,000 tonnes to 85,000 tonnes fell short.
Mr Esho said the actual implied increase in volume was "little to be excited about".
"Although, compared to other gold miners, the numbers are significant," he said.
Newcrest has budgeted a rise in capital expenditure from $1.89 billion to between $2.0 billion and $2.2 billion, associated with completion of the Cadia East underground mine in NSW and expansion of the Lihir processing plant to one million ounces per annum.
Mr Hodge said Newcrest continued to more than replace gold reserves depleted through production.
Newcrest declared a final unfranked dividend of 20 cents per share and a special unfranked dividend of 20 cents per share.
Added to the February interim dividend of 10 cents, the total dividend for the year is 50 cents.
This represents a doubling of the total dividend paid last financial year of 25 cents.
Shares in Newcrest were down 73 cents, or 1.79 per cent, at $40.00 at 1247 AEST, compared to gains in the broader market of about 1.7 per cent.
IG Markets analyst Ben Potter said the shares probably eased on the back of softer gold prices early on Monday.