Freeport-McMoRan Earnings Dip Slightly

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE: FCX  ) today announced earnings for the third quarter of $0.79 per share ($821 million), which was down from the $0.86 per share ($824 million) reported in the third quarter of 2012. The company did see its revenue rise dramatically, from $4.4 billion to $6.2 billion thanks in large part to its acquisition of Plains Exploration & Production Company that was completed on May 31.

Freeport-McMoRan was affected by falling gold and copper prices, where the average realized prices dropped by 23% and 10%, respectively. The price of gold fell from $1,728 in the third quarter of 2012 to $1,329 in the third quarter of 2013, and copper fell from $3.64 to $3.28.

Freeport-McMoRan did see significant gains in its operating cash flows, which rose from $526 million in the third quarter of 2012 to $1.9 billion in the most recent quarter. In total the company expects to have a total of $6 billion in operating cash flows full-year 2013.

Total debt remained high at Freeport-McMoRan, standing at $21.1 billion, down slightly from the second quarter amount of $21.2 billion, but still well above the $3.5 billion in the third quarter of 2012. It added almost $10 billion in debt as a result of the Plains acquisition. The company did note that it was targeting to reduce its debt by $12 billion over the next three years.

Of the results, the executive team said; "Our third quarter results reflect strong operating performance from our global mining business together with an impressive and significant contribution from our recently acquired oil and gas operations. We remain focused on solid execution of our plans to generate strong margins and cash flows which will enable us to invest prudently in financially attractive growth opportunities, execute on our commitment to achieve previously announced debt reduction targets and provide attractive cash returns to shareholders."

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