By Robb M. Stewart

Barrick Gold launched plans for a new share-buyback program after logging a 30% jump in profit for the final three months of last year as it benefited from a higher gold price.

The Canadian company, one of the world's biggest producers of gold, reported fourth-quarter net earnings rose to $479 million, or 27 cents a share, from $368 million, or 21 cents a share, a year earlier.

After stripping out items including certain one-time costs and the impact of foreign exchange movements, earnings also came in at 27 cents a share, beating the 20 cents forecast by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue for the quarter was 6.9% higher at $3.06 billion, just below market expectations for $3.08 billion.

Barrick Gold said its board authorized a program to repurchase up to $1 billion of the company's shares over the next 12 months. It comes after the miner didn't buy any stock under the buyback program announced a year ago and picked up $424 million of its shares under a 2022 buyback effort.

Sales for the fourth quarter hit 1.04 million ounces of gold against 1.03 million ounces in the same period the year before, and 117 million pounds of copper, up from 101 million pounds.

Production of the precious metal edged up 1.4% from a year earlier to 1.05 million ounces, taking annual output to 4.05 million ounces against the company's target of between 4.2 million and 4.6 million ounces. Three-month copper production was up slightly at 113 million pounds from 112 million a year earlier, taking production for 2023 to 420 million pounds, the bottom end of company guidance.

Write to Robb M. Stewart at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-14-24 0650ET