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Cameco Corp., symbol CCO on Toronto, is the world’s largest uranium producer.
The company supplies over 18% of global production, and has large, high-grade reserves, low-cost operations, significant market share and a number of uranium mines. The company also holds a 31.6% interest in Ontario’s Bruce Power partnership, which operates four of the eight reactors at the Bruce plant, North America’s largest nuclear-power complex.
Uranium traded as low as $40 U.S. a pound in March 2010. Recently, it rose as high as $61, largely on news that China plans to raise its nuclear-power generation targets by 60%. Cameco recently signed two contracts with Chinese nuclear authorities: it will deliver 23 million pounds of uranium to China National Nuclear Corp., China’s largest nuclear-power producer, by 2020. It will also deliver 29 million pounds of uranium oxide to fast-growing nuclear producer China Guangdong Nuclear Power through 2025.
In the three months ended December 31, 2010, the uranium mining stock’s revenue rose 2.1%, to $673.0 billion from $659.0 billion a year earlier.
If you exclude a gain on the sale of the uranium mining stock’s stake in Centerra Gold in the fourth quarter of 2009, Cameco’s earnings rose 12.4%, to $191.0 million from $170.0 million. Earnings per share rose 11.6%, to $0.48 from $0.43, on more shares outstanding. Higher selling prices and lower production costs for uranium offset lower prices for the company’s electric power.
Cameco aims to nearly double its uranium output to 40 million pounds by 2018. This includes the company’s Cigar Lake mine, which is now under construction, and is scheduled to start up in mid-2013.
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