Oz Minerals shares up on future vision

Copper and gold producer Oz Minerals has reassured investors about its vision for the future and maintained its 2013 production targets.

Shares in the Melbourne-based miner gained 3.5 per cent on Wednesday as the chief executive Terry Burgess presented a longer-term outlook for the company amid stronger demand for copper.

Analysts said the worst appeared to be behind Oz Minerals after net profit for the year to December 31 fell 44 per cent to $152 million from $274.5 million in 2011.

Mr Burgess said the company decided to pay a dividend at the top end of the range as the outlook for copper demand continued to improve due to global supply challenges.

"We think the copper price will continue to be robust and we see an increase in confidence in the global economy overall," Mr Burgess told reporters on Wednesday.

"What's important now is the company's growth vision."

Oz Minerals believes its Prominent Hill project in South Australia will continue to run for many years.

Mr Burgess said he was pleased the company had not made acquisitions over the past three years as it moved into an underground mining phase.

Oz Minerals bought a second hand tunnel boring machine which will be rebuilt in Shanghai and sent back to the Carrapateena underground project in SA at the end of 2013.

The company said it was on track to meet its previously forecast copper production target of 90,000-95,000 tonnes for 2013, a fall of up to 12 per cent from 101,737 tonnes in 2012.

It is also confident of meeting its gold production target of 130,000-150,000 ounces, compared to 140,746 ounces of the precious metal in 2012.

Revenue dropped 11.7 per cent to $985.7 million from $1.1 billion.

Lower copper prices and sales along with higher costs were blamed for eating into the company's earnings.

The company also suffered an $11.3 million foreign exchange loss due to the higher Australian dollar.

Oz Minerals' 2012 results included five months of contributions from its Ankata underground mine at the ageing Prominent Hill open cut mine.

The company declared an unfranked dividend of 30 cents a share, down from the 60 cents paid in 2011.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Geoff Breen said Oz Minerals had surprised the market by doubling its interim dividend to 20 cents in the six months to March, and the overall financial result was in line with market expectations.

The company's shares received a boost after it provided better clarity on plans post-Prominent Hill, with the company focusing on Carrapateena.

"They put out one chart that has a conceptual growth vision," Mr Breen said.

"It's the first time they've pulled it all together and I think that's why people are getting a little more confident."

Oz Minerals would have a very weak 2013, in line with guidance, but a stronger copper price would give the company a boost in 2014.

Mr Breen predicts copper will trade at $US3.75 per pound over the medium term.

Oz Minerals' shares were 26 cents, or 3.6 per cent, higher at $7.47 at 1353 AEDT.

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