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Cameco Management Discusses Q3 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

As to the results this quarter, they were strong and in line with what we projected, even with the volatility in the markets lately. Our Fuel Services facilities continue to operate well, and revenue from that segment was up $16 million this quarter. However, unfavorable market conditions for UF6 conversion have caused us to reduce production for this year.

In the uranium segment, sales, revenue and gross profit were all up this quarter compared to Q3 last year. However, we have revised our uranium production outlook for the year, down slightly by about 1%. Production is not quite where we wanted it to be, mostly because of maturing well fields at Inkai and permitting delays at Smith Ranch in Wyoming.

The U.S. regulator is somewhat backlogged, so we continue to work with them to secure permits to bring new well fields into production. However, we are pleased to report that we expect production at our McArthur River-Key Lake project to increase, which offsets some of the shortfall in the U.S. and in Kazakhstan.

Our sales outlook remains unchanged, and our sales volume was up 29% for the quarter compared to the same time last year. The number would have been a little bit higher, but one delivery was moved to the fourth quarter. Now over 1/3 of our deliveries are expected to occur in Q4. The higher volume of deliveries this quarter also contributed to the higher uranium revenue and gross profit we saw. Those increases are also a result of the higher realized prices we're starting to see in our contracts, as we come to the end of older contracts and move into those at higher prices.

Our contracting strategy is one of the primary reasons that our financial performance remains strong, even while the uranium market and the rest of the industry is experiencing some upheaval. Our mix of market-related and fixed-price contracts is designed to let us benefit when prices rise and protect us when prices decline. We're seeing the benefit of that approach now and will continue to do so, as we expect the current uncertainty in the uranium market to linger for the near to medium term.

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