02/12/2013 07:58 EST | Updated 04/14/2013 05:12 EDT

Novagold's spinoff of copper assets results in $67.6-million net profit for 2012

VANCOUVER - Novagold Resources Inc. (TSX:NG) says the spinoff of its copper assets last year and other factors resulted in a $67.6-million net profit for the 2012 financial year.

That amounted to about nine cents per share after dilution and contrasted with a loss of $57.4 million or 24 cents per share in Novagold's fiscal 2011.

The Vancouver-based company, which is in the development phase and not producing sales revenue, had $253 million in cash and equivalents when the 2012 financial year ended Nov. 30 — up from $60.6 million a year earlier.

Novagold received $316.4 million in net proceeds from an equity financing in February 2012.

That was partially offset by $88.4 million of cash used in operating activities and $40.4 million used to fund the spinoff of NovaCopper to the company's shareholders.

Novagold has a market cap of about $1.4 billion while NovaCopper is worth about $100 million.

Novagold said Tuesday plans to significantly reduce spending this year, to a total budget of $41 million, including US$15 million for its half of the cost at the Donlin gold project in Alaska, a joint venture with Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX).

It also plans to spend $8 million for its half of the $16-million budget for Galore Creek copper and gold project in British Columbia, a joint venture with Teck Resources Inc. (TSX:TCK.B).

In a separate announcement, NovaCopper (TSX:NCQ) reported a $31 million loss for the year ended Nov. 30, or 67 cents per diluted common share. That followed a restated loss of $11.3 million or 44 cents per share in the year-earlier period, before it was spun off from Novagold in April 2012.

The year-to-year increase included expanded exploration of the company's Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects in the Ambler mining district of northwest Alaska.

At the Toronto Stock Exchange, Novagold shares gained seven cents in afternoon trading to $4.44 and NovaCopper shares were unchanged in light trading at $1.99.