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Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX)

Q4 2010 Earnings Call

January 20, 2011 10:00 am ET


Conger Harry - President of Americas Division

Richard Adkerson - Chief Executive Officer, President, Director and Chairman of FM Services Company

James Moffett - Chairman of the Board

Kathleen Quirk - Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Commissioner - PT Freeport Indonesia


John Tumazos - Independent Research

Jorge Beristain - Deutsche Bank AG

Anthony Rizzuto - Dahlman Rose & Company, LLC

Brett Levy - Jefferies & Company

Charles Bradford - Bradford Research

John Redstone - Desjardins Securities Inc.

David Gagliano - Crédit Suisse AG

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Brian Yu - Citigroup Inc

Mark Liinamaa - Morgan Stanley

Brian MacArthur - UBS Investment Bank

Sal Tharani - Goldman Sachs Group Inc.



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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the conference over to Ms. Kathleen Quirk, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Please go ahead, ma'am.

Kathleen Quirk

Thank you and good morning. Welcome to the Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Fourth Quarter 2010 Earnings Conference Call. Our release were released earlier this morning, and a copy of our press release is available on our website at Our conference call today is being broadcast live on the Internet and anyone may listen to the call by accessing our website homepage and clicking on the Webcast link for the conference call. We also have several slides to supplement our comments this morning, which are also available on our website. In addition, to analysts and investors, the financial press has been invited to listen to today's call. And a replay of the webcast will be available on our website later today.

Before we begin our comments, I'd like to remind everyone that today's press release and certain of our comments on this call include forward-looking statements. I'd like to refer everyone to the cautionary language included in our press release and the presentation materials and to the risk factors described in our SEC filings.

On the call with me today are Richard Adkerson, President and Chief Executive of FCX; Jim Bob Moffett, Chairman of the Board. We also have Red Conger with us today and Dave Thornton.

I'll start by briefly summarizing our financial results and then turn the call over to Richard, who will be going through the slide materials to review our recent performance and outlook. As usual, after our prepared comments, we'll open the call for questions.

We are very pleased to report today fourth quarter 2010 net income attributable to common stock of $1.5 billion or $3.25 per share. That compared to net income of $971 million or $2.15 per share for the fourth quarter of 2009. For the year 2010, FCX's net income attributable to common stock totaled $4.3 billion or $9.14 per share, which compared to $2.5 billion or $5.86 per share for the year 2009. Our quarterly results for the fourth quarter and for the year 2010 were both new records for Freeport.

Our fourth quarter 2010 consolidated copper sales of 941 million pounds were higher than our previous estimate of 895 million pounds, but as anticipated, lower than the fourth quarter 2009 copper sales of 989 million pounds. The variance to the October 2010 estimate primarily reflects favorable production performance in Indonesia, our South American operations and our Tenke Fungurume operations in Africa. The variance to 2009 primarily reflects anticipated lower sales from North America, partly offset by a higher contribution from Indonesia.

Our fourth quarter 2010 consolidated gold sales of 590,000 ounces were slightly above our previous estimate of 585,000 ounces. And our gold sales in the year-ago period were 551,000 ounces. Our consolidated molybdenum sales for the fourth quarter of 17 million pounds were slightly higher than our prior estimate of 15 million pounds, primarily because of stronger demand that we're seeing in the metallurgical sector. The consolidated molybdenum sales for the fourth quarter of 2010 were similar to the year-ago sales.

Our results include positive pricing for all of our commodities: copper, gold and molybdenum. Our realized price for copper in the fourth quarter was $4.18 compared with $3.20 in the fourth quarter of 2009. Our realized price for gold approximated $1,400 per ounce in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with $1,115 per ounce in the fourth quarter of 2009. And our realized molybdenum price of $16.60 was over 20% higher than the year-ago period.

As anticipated, our consolidated unit site production and delivery costs of $1.46 per pound in the fourth quarter were higher than the year-ago period. Our net unit costs, net of by-product credits, averaged $0.53 per pound in the fourth quarter 2010, which compared to $0.62 per pound in the prior year quarter. The lower unit net cash costs in the 2010 period primarily reflect higher gold and molybdenum by-product credits.

Operating cash flow totaled $2.1 billion for the fourth quarter and $6.3 billion for the year 2010. These amounts were net of working capital requirements totaling just over $300 million in the quarter and over $800 million for the year. Operating cash flows at these levels were significantly above our capital expenditures, which totaled $535 million in the fourth quarter and $1.4 billion for the year.

We ended the year in a very strong financial position. Our total debt was $4.8 billion, and our consolidated cash approximated $3.7 billion. During 2010, we repaid a total of $1.6 billion in debt.

We also are pleased to report today our preliminary estimated consolidated proven and probable reserves. These reserves, as of December 31, 2010, are estimated to total 120.5 billion pounds of copper, 35.5 million ounces of gold and 3.39 billion pounds of molybdenum. Net reserve additions totaled 20 billion pounds of copper and significant amounts of molybdenum. Those totaled 500% of our 2010 copper production and 1,200% of our 2010 molybdenum production.

We used our long-term price to determine our reserves of $2 per pound of copper, $750 for gold and $10 per pound of molybdenum. Its a bit higher than our last year's numbers, which were based on $1.60 per pound of copper, $550 per ounce of gold and $8 for molybdenum.

As previously reported, our Board of Directors declared a supplemental dividend, which was $1 per share that was paid on December 30. That dividend is in addition to the regular quarterly common stock dividend of $0.50 per share. And our board also declared a 2-for-1 stock split to be effected on February 1. The additional shares will be issued on February 1 and will increase the number of shares outstanding to approximately 945 million from the current level of 472 million.

I'd now like to turn the call over to Richard, who will be providing additional comments about our results and discuss our outlook.

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