Vancouver, British Columbia – Wheaton Precious Metals™ Corp. (“Wheaton” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce its results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2017. All figures are presented in United States dollars unless otherwise noted.
In the third quarter of 2017, Wheaton Precious Metals continued to generate strong cash flow and remains on track to meet 2017 production guidance.
Q3 2017 Q3 2016 Change
Silver 7,595 7,651 (0.7)%
Gold 95,897 113,008 (15.1)%
Silver 5,758 6,122 (5.9)%
Gold 82,548 85,063 (3.0)%
Sales price per ounce
Silver $ 16.87 $ 19.53 (13.6)%
Gold $ 1,283 $ 1,336 (4.0)%
Cash costs per ounce 1
Silver 1 $ 4.43 $ 4.51 (1.8)%
Gold 1 $ 396 $ 390 1.5 %
Cash operating margin per ounce 1
Silver 1 $ 12.44 $ 15.02 (17.2)%
Gold 1 $ 887 $ 946 (6.2)%
Revenue $ 203,034 $ 233,204 (12.9)%
Net earnings $ 66,578 $ 82,986 (19.8)%
Per share $ 0.15 $ 0.19 (21.1)%
Operating cash flows $ 129,121 $ 161,577 (20.1)%
Per share 1 $ 0.29 $ 0.37 (21.6)%
Dividends paid $ 44,201 $ 22,049 100.5%
Per share $ 0.10 $ 0.05 100.0%
All amounts in thousands except gold ounces produced and sold, per ounce amounts and per share amounts.
Third Quarter Highlights
• Attributable silver production for the three months ended September 30, 2017, decreased 1% relative to the comparable period in 2016, with lower production from San Dimas and Constancia being largely offset by increased production from Antamina and Peñasquito.
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• Attributable gold production for the three months ended September 30, 2017, decreased 15% relative to the comparable period in 2016, with the decrease being in line with expectations and primarily due to lower attributable production from 777 and Minto.
• On a silver equivalent ounce2 (“SEO”) basis and gold equivalent ounce2 (“GEO”) basis:
o Attributable production in Q3 2017 was 14.9 million SEOs or 195,900 GEOs, compared with 15.3 million SEOs or 225,400 GEOs in Q3 2016, a decrease of 3% and 13%, respectively.
o Sales volume in Q3 2017 was 12.0 million SEOs or 158,400 GEOs, compared with 11.9 million SEOs or 175,000 GEOs in Q3 2016, an increase of 1% and a decrease of 9%, respectively.
• As at September 30, 2017, payable ounces attributable to the Company produced but not yet delivered³ amounted to 5.3 million payable silver ounces and 57,200 payable gold ounces, representing an increase of 1.1 million payable silver ounces and 8,200 payable gold ounces during the three month period ended September 30, 2017.
• Declared quarterly dividend of $0.09 per common share. This represents an increase of 50% relative to the comparable period in 2016.
• The Company is reiterating its production guidance for 2017.
“Wheaton Precious Metals continues to generate strong operating margins from its portfolio of low-cost assets and remains on track to meet full year production guidance,” said Randy Smallwood, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wheaton Precious Metals. “We continue to work diligently not only to strengthen our current portfolio, the source of our sector leading cash flows and dividend yield, but also to pursue additional accretive opportunities.”
Revenue was $203 million in the third quarter of 2017, on sales volume of 5.8 million ounces of silver and 82,500 ounces of gold. This represents a 13% decrease from the $233 million of revenue generated in the third quarter of 2016 due primarily to (i) a 6% decrease in the number of silver ounces sold; (ii) a 3% decrease in the number of gold ounces sold; (iii) a 14% decrease in the average realized silver price ($16.87 in Q3 2017 compared with $19.53 in Q3 2016); and (iv) a 4% decrease in the average realized gold price ($1,283 in Q3 2017 compared with $1,336 in Q3 2016).
Costs and Expenses
Average cash costs¹ in the third quarter of 2017 were $4.43 per silver ounce sold and $396 per gold ounce sold, as compared with $4.51 per silver ounce and $390 per gold ounce during the comparable period of 2016. This resulted in a cash operating margin¹ of $12.44 per silver ounce sold and $887 per gold ounce sold, a reduction of 17% and 6% as compared with Q3 2016. The decrease in the cash operating margin was primarily due to a 14% decrease in the average realized silver price and a 4% decrease in the average realized gold price in Q3 2017 compared with Q3 2016.
Earnings and Operating Cash Flows
Net earnings and cash flow from operations in the third quarter of 2017 were $67 million ($0.15 per share) and $129 million ($0.29 per share¹), compared with $83 million ($0.19 per share) and $162 million ($0.37 per share¹) for the same period in 2016, both a decrease of 20%.
At September 30, 2017, the Company had approximately $70 million of cash on hand and $854 million outstanding under the Company's $2 billion revolving term loan (the "Revolving Facility").
Third Quarter Asset Highlights
During the third quarter of 2017, attributable production was 7.6 million ounces of silver and 95,900 ounces of gold, representing a decrease of 1% and 15%, respectively, compared with the third quarter of 2016.
Operational highlights for the quarter ended September 30, 2017, based upon counterparties’ reporting, are as follows:
In the third quarter of 2017, Salobo produced 73,000 ounces of attributable gold, an increase of approximately 7% relative to the third quarter of 2016. According to Vale S.A.’s (“Vale”) third quarter of 2017 production report, production was positively impacted mainly due to higher feed grades and stronger plant performance in the third quarter. The Salobo plant operated above nameplate capacity on average in the third quarter of 2017.
In the third quarter of 2017, Peñasquito produced 1.6 million ounces of attributable silver, an increase of approximately 10% relative to the third quarter of 2016 primarily due to higher metal recoveries and grades. According to Goldcorp Inc.’s (“Goldcorp”) third quarter of 2017 MD&A, throughput at Peñasquito is expected to increase in the fourth quarter of 2017 as a result of improved mill efficiencies. Pre-stripping of the Chile Colorado pit is reportedly ahead of schedule and will contribute to mill feed starting in 2018.
According to Goldcorp, the Pyrite Leach Project ("PLP") at Peñasquito is 40% complete and expected to commence commissioning in the fourth quarter of 2018, three months ahead of schedule. The PLP is reportedly expected to recover approximately 40% of the gold and 48% of the silver currently reporting to the tailings, and is expected to add production of approximately 1 million ounces of gold and 44 million ounces of silver over the current life of the mine. As a reminder, Wheaton Precious Metals is entitled to 25% of the silver produced at Peñasquito for the life of mine, or 11 million of the additional 44 million silver ounces.
In the third quarter of 2017, Antamina produced 1.7 million ounces of attributable silver, an increase of approximately 18% relative to the third quarter of 2016 primarily due to increased grades and throughput, partially offset by lower recovery.
In the third quarter of 2017, San Dimas produced 1.0 million ounces of attributable silver, a decrease of approximately 17% relative to the third quarter of 2016 primarily due to a decrease in throughput, which was partially offset by better grades. According to Primero Mining Corp.’s (“Primero”) news release dated September 21, 2017, the expected ramp-up in production at San Dimas following a work stoppage in the second quarter of 2017 was significantly delayed due to persistent issues with underground equipment reliability, which has impacted development rates and underground stoping activities. As a result of these issues, Primero reduced the upper end of its 2017 silver production guidance range from 4.5-5.5 million ounces
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Fourth Quarterly Dividend
The fourth quarterly cash dividend of US$0.09 will be paid to holders of record of Wheaton Precious Metals common shares as of the close of business on November 27, 2017, and will be distributed on or about December 7, 2017.
Under the Company’s dividend policy, the quarterly dividend per common share will be equal to 30% of the average cash generated by operating activities in the previous four quarters divided by the Company’s then outstanding common shares, all rounded to the nearest cent.
The declaration, timing, amount and payment of future dividends remain at the discretion of the Board of Directors. This dividend qualifies as an ‘eligible dividend’ for Canadian income tax purposes.
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Dividend Reinvestment Plan
The Company has previously implemented a Dividend Reinvestment Plan (“DRIP”). Participation in the DRIP is optional. For the purposes of this fourth quarterly dividend, the Company has elected to issue common shares under the DRIP through treasury at a 3% discount to the Average Market Price, as defined in the DRIP. However, the Company may, from time to time, in its discretion, change or eliminate the discount applicable to Treasury Acquisitions, as defined in the DRIP, or direct that such common shares be purchased in Market Acquisitions, as defined in the DRIP, at the prevailing market price, any of which would be publicly announced.
The DRIP and enrollment forms are available for download on the Company’s website at www.wheatonpm.com, accessible by quick links directly from the home page, and can also be found in the ‘investors’ section, under the ‘dividends’ tab.
Registered shareholders may also enroll in the DRIP online through the plan agent’s self-service web portal at: https://www.canstockta.com/en/InvestorServices/Investor_Information/Issuer_List/IssuerDetail.jsp?companyCode=1501.
Beneficial shareholders should contact
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