Newcrest H1 profit slumps

Gold miner declines to pay interim dividend, maintains full-year production guidance; revenue lifts in first-half.

Newcrest Mining (NCM) has maintained its full-year production guidance and says its on track to be free cash flow positive in fiscal 2014, despite posting a fall of almost 90% in first-half net profit.

In the six months to December 31, Newcrest posted a net profit of $40 million, an 88% decline on the $323 million profit in the previous corresponding period.

The result included the previously announced increase in income tax expense of $120 million relating to Newcrest's voluntary amendment of its Australian research and development claims with respect to the 2009 to 2011 financial years. Also included was a $47 million impairment of exploration assets in West Africa.

In the same period, revenue was $2.016 billion, a 12% increase on the $1.805 billion recorded in the first half of the previous year.

The gold miner declined to pay an interim dividend.

Newcrest chief executive officer Greg Robinson said the group had made steady progress to producing lower cost, higher margin ounces, while reducing costs and capital expenditure across the business.

"Overall, our focus remains on optimising our current operations, maintaining our growth options and maximising free cash flow to enable the company to reduce gearing and return to paying dividends to shareholders," he said.