Molycorp Shares Overcome Earnings Loss with Revenue Beat

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Molycorp Inc. (NYSE: MCP) reported first quarter 2013 results after markets closed today. The rare earths miner posted an adjusted diluted loss of $0.15 per share on revenues of $146.4 million. For the first quarter of 2012 the company posted earnings per share of $0.18 on revenues of $84.47 million. First-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for a net loss of $0.27 a share and $137.52 million in revenues.

On a GAAP basis, Molycorp posted a loss of $0.33 a share, which does not include “operational expansion items, out-of-ordinary business expenses, and certain other non-cash items.” The largest single exclusion was $37.21 million, which the company noted is an inventory write-down. The price of rare earths continues to remain low and demand is also down, and that’s bad news for Molycorp.

The company’s CEO said:

Our ongoing production ramp-up at Mountain Pass remains on course, and our increasing production is allowing us to produce for end-use customers as well as provide greater feedstock to our downstream, value-added processing facilities. On the demand side, we are beginning to see signs of a return to more normal levels of demand as the year progresses.

Molycorp reiterated last night that the first half of this year will be weaker than the second half of last year. The second half of the year is forecast to improve as low sales in the first quarter are chalked up to seasonality and, perversely perhaps, “the expectation that [the] Molycorp Mountain Pass facility will not achieve full-scale commercial production until mid-year 2013.”

Somehow it doesn’t seem logical that all Molycorp’s troubles will be behind it when the mine is producing at full capacity. That should drive prices down, no?

For today, though, the revenue beat and the smaller-than-expected loss per share is giving the company’s shares a lift. Shares are up more than 9% in after-hours trading, at $5.59 in a 52-week range of $4.70 to $26.10. Thomson Reuters had a consensus target price for the shares at around $9.30 before today’s report.

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