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Barrick Gold Tops Estimates, Proposes Special Distribution

Barrick Gold was higher after the gold miner reported stronger-than-expected fourth quarter results and proposed a special distribution to holders.

Shares of Barrick Gold  (GOLD) - Get Barrick Gold Corporation Report were higher after the gold miner reported stronger-than-expected fourth quarter results and declared a special distribution to holders.

The Toronto company reported adjusted earnings of 35 cents a share, double the 17 cents of the year-earlier quarter. Revenue of $3.28 billion rose from $2.88 billion a year earlier. 

Analysts surveyed by FactSet were expecting adjusted earnings of 31 cents a share on revenue of $3.24 billion. 

"We have a detailed road map towards clearly defined emission-reduction targets, based on climate science and operational realities," Chief Executive Mark Bristow said in a statement. 

"Unlike others, our plan does not rely on mine closures and production cutbacks. Our ultimate aim is net zero emissions with landmarked targets towards this goal." 

The company delivered a sixth straight earnings beat after increasing output and reducing costs. 

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Barrick, the world's second-largest gold miner, is now its most profitable, with the widest operating margin and lowest ratio of debt to earnings among the major producers, according to Bloomberg.

At last check Barrick shares rose 1.4% to $21.12. 

Separately, Barrick declared a special return-of-capital distribution to holders of about 42 cents a share. 

If holders approve the move -- a vote is set for the annual meeting on May 4 -- Barrick will distribute the funds in three tranches, in May, August and November.

The total special distribution, $750 million, amounts to half the $1.5 billion of  proceeds the company took in from sales of non-core assets since 2019, Barrick said, 

The company issued downside guidance, with 2021 gold output expected to be between 4.4 million and 4.7 million ounces, compared with 4.76 million produced in 2020. The latest figure is below the average analyst estimate of 4.77 million. 

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway  (BRK.A) - Get Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class A Report  (BRK.B) - Get Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Class B Report recently exited its position in Barrick Gold.