Barrick Gold Corp. said it will repurchase up to US$1 billion of the company’s common shares this year, as chief executive Mark Bristow seeks to stoke investor interest amid a wave a consolidation in the industry.
“This new program gives us a further opportunity to repurchase our shares when we believe that they are trading in a price range that does not reflect the value of the company’s mining and financial assets and future business prospects,” the company’s chief executive Mark Bristow said in a press release on Feb. 15.
Barrick shares were down about 10 per cent this month from a year earlier, a period during which the broader S&P/TSX composite index declined only about four per cent. Stock markets have rallied this year, yet Barrick shares remain in the red from the start of January.
The pledge to repurchase shares came as Barrick reported a loss of US$735 million in the three months ended Dec. 31, a big swing from the US$726-million profit it earned in the same period in 2021.
The rough end to the year pulled down Barrick’s net earnings for 2022 to US$432 million, a decline of 79 per cent compared to 2021 when it recorded a profit of about US$2 billion. Barrick attributed its fourth-quarter loss to “impairments,” which are a reduction in the value of a company’s assets, including a US$950-million write down related to its Loulo-Gounkoto operations in Mali.
If not for the impairments, Barrick’s fourth quarter would have looked better. Revenue was US$2.7 billion, roughly in line with the US$3.3 billion it earned in the same period in 2021. For the year, the company reported revenue of US$11.01 billion, eight per cent lower than the US$11.9 billion it recorded the previous year.
Barrick said gold production increased 13 per cent the fourth quarter from a year earlier, yet it failed to meet its 2022 target of 4.2 million ounces of gold, falling short by one per cent.