10/24/2012 05:32 EDT | Updated 12/24/2012 05:12 EST

Gold miner Agnico-Eagle reports third-quarter profit of US$106.3 million

TORONTO - Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. (TSX:AEM) increased its production guidance for the year as it reported a better than expected third-quarter profit of US$106.3 million.

The gold miner said it now expects to produce 1.025 million ounces of gold for the year, up from an earlier estimate of 975,000.

Agnico-Eagle, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, also said it expects the cost to produce the gold will come in at US$660 per ounce compared with an earlier estimate of $690.

The guidance came as the company said its quarterly profit amounted to 62 cents per share in its latest quarter, up from a loss of $81.6 million or 48 cents per share a year ago when the company wrote off its Goldex operation in Quebec.

Excluding one-time items, Agnico-Eagle said it earned 77 cents per share for the quarter.

The average analyst estimate compiled by Thomson Reuters had been for a profit of 42 cents per share.

Revenue from the company's mining operations totalled $535.8 million, up from $520.5 million in the third quarter of 2011.

"Continued strong operating performance during the third quarter has resulted in a further strengthening of our financial position," said Sean Boyd, Agnico-Eagle's president and chief executive.

"In addition to steady production from all of our mines, and in particular record gold output at Meadowbank and Kittila, we are pleased to announce an increase in our full-year production forecast with an associated reduction in the total cash cost estimate."

Payable gold production in the quarter totalled 286,971 ounces, up from 265,978 ounces in the third quarter of 2011.

Total cash costs improved to $556 per ounce, down from $563 a year ago, due to lower costs at the company's Meadowbank, Kittila and Pinos Altos operations, partially offset by higher costs at the LaRonde mine.

The Toronto-based gold miner also said Wednesday that David Smith has been promoted to chief financial officer.

Smith, who was senior vice-president of strategic planning and investor relations, fills the spot left by the departure of Ammar Al-Joundi earlier this year who joined Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX).

Agnico-Eagle stopped operations at the Goldex mine last year due to unstable rock formations. The Goldex mine is in the Abitibi region of Quebec and part of a group of mines that Agnico-Eagle owns including the LaRonde mine and Lapa mine.

Agnico-Eagle has mines and exploration and development projects in Canada, Finland, Mexico and the United States.

The company's LaRonde mine is Canada's largest operating gold project in terms of reserves.

Shares in the company, which reported its results after the close of markets, were down 88 cents at $51.38 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday.