02/20/2013 05:46 EST | Updated 04/22/2013 05:12 EDT

Yamana Gold reports higher revenues, profits during the fourth quarter

TORONTO - Yamana Gold Inc. (TSX:YRI) reported Wednesday higher quarterly profits and revenues compared to a year ago and said it expects to see at least a 20 per cent increase in production this year.

The precious metals miner says its net earnings for the last three months of 2012 were $169.2 million, or 22 cents per share.

During the same 2011 period, it reported net earnings of $89.6 million, or 12 cents per share.

Quarterly revenues rose to a record $629.5 million, from $568.7 million.

On an adjusted basis, Yamana's earnings were $197.4 million, or 26 cents per share, compared to $184.2 million, or 25 cents per share a year earlier.

That beat analyst estimates of 25 cents per share for the quarter, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

The improved profits were the result of higher mine operation earnings and were partly offset by higher expenses.

"Our objective has been to become a more predictable and reliable precious metals company delivering value to shareholders through increasing our resource base, expanding production and ultimately generating cash flow and increases in cash flow," said CEO Peter Marrone.

"In the coming year, we will continue to strive for consistency and reliability in the delivery of high quality ounces at comparatively low cost."

Yamana posted record production of 1.2 million gold-equivalent ounces in 2012, an increase from 1.1 million ounces.

In 2013, Yamana expects production to range from 1.44 million to 1.6 million, most of which will come from a full year of output from its Mercedes gold and silver mine in Mexico, an expansion at the Minera Florida mine in Chile and production ramp ups at other mines.

For all of 2012, Yamana's net earnings were $442.1 million, or 59 cents per share, compared with $548 million, or 74 cents per share, during 2011. Yamana said the drop was a result of higher taxes in Chile.

Adjusted earnings were $694 million, or 93 cents per share, compared to $712 million, or 96 cents per share in 2011 on higher expenses.

Revenues were $2.3 billion in 2012, up from $2.2 billion in 2011.

Also Wednesday, Yamana announced a first-quarter dividend of 6.5 cents per share.

Shares in Yamana, which reported its results after markets closed Wednesday, fell 3.6 per cent to $14.69 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.