Mr. Tim Gitzel reports
CAMECO ANNOUNCES SECOND QUARTER RESULTS, CONTINUED DISCIPLINED EXECUTION OF STRATEGY; WELL-POSITIONED AS MULTI-ASSET NUCLEAR FUEL SUPPLIER ACROSS THE FUEL CYCLE
Cameco Corp. has released its consolidated financial and operating results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2022, in accordance with international financial reporting standards (IFRS).
"Our results reflect the very deliberate execution of our strategy of full-cycle value capture. And, we are benefiting from higher average realized prices in both our uranium sales and our fuel services sales as the market continues to transition and geopolitics continue to highlight concentration of supply concerns," said Tim Gitzel, Cameco's president and chief executive officer.
"In the drive for a clean-energy profile, policy makers and business leaders must recognize that there is a need to balance affordability and security. Too much focus on intermittent, weather-dependent, renewable energy has left some jurisdictions struggling with power shortages and spiking energy prices, or dependence on Russian energy supplies. The good news for us is that many are turning to nuclear -- which provides safe, reliable, affordable, carbon-free baseload electricity while also offering energy security and independence.
"It is still early days, but we are seeing some utilities beginning to pivot toward procurement strategies that more carefully weigh the origin risk. This year has already been a contracting success with over 45 million pounds added to our portfolio of long-term uranium contracts and we continue to have a significant and growing pipeline of contract discussions. And we are being strategically patient as our primary driver is value and we have significant leverage to market improvements with unencumbered pounds in the ground. Additionally, we are focusing our efforts on capturing conversion business as conversion prices are at record highs.
"We remain committed to our supply discipline. Discipline that balances delivering low-cost pounds into committed sales contracts and maintaining unencumbered supply for future years, by preserving our Tier 1 assets. Tier 1 assets like Cigar Lake, that will benefit us for years to come, and where we announced in May that we had increased our ownership of this proven, permitted and fully licensed Saskatchewan mine. Further, at Cigar Lake we have been able to catch up on development work and we are now expecting to produce 18 million pounds (100-per-cent basis) in 2022. However, our overall production forecast remains unchanged at up to 11 million pounds our share, a benefit of being a multiasset producer, as the increase at Cigar Lake largely offsets a slower ramp-up at the Key Lake mill due to some delays in our work schedule.
"We continue to transition from care and maintenance to operational readiness at McArthur River and Key Lake, increasing the work force on site and moving into early-stage commissioning. At the Key Lake mill, we have encountered some challenges with respect to the availability of critical materials, equipment and skills for some of our critical automation, digitization and other projects. In addition, after four years on care and maintenance, we have experienced some normal commissioning issues as we work to safely and systematically integrate the existing and new assets with updated operating systems at the mill. We have adjusted our schedule to accommodate these delays and anticipate first production will be deferred to later in the fourth quarter. As a result, we are expecting up to two million pounds production (100-per-cent basis) this year.
"Thanks to our deliberate actions and conservative financial management we have been and continue to be resilient. With $1.4-billion in cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments on our balance sheet, improving fundamentals for our business and our decision to prepare McArthur River/Key Lake for production, we have line of sight to a significant improvement in our future financial performance.
"We are optimistic about Cameco's role in capturing long-term value across the fuel chain and supporting the transition to a net-zero carbon economy. We have Tier 1 assets that are licensed, permitted, long-lived, are proven reliable and that have expansion capacity. These Tier 1 assets are backed up by idle Tier 2 assets and what we think is the best exploration portfolio that leverages existing infrastructure. We are vertically integrated across the nuclear fuel cycle. We have locked in significant value for the fuel services segment of our business in the recent price transition in the conversion market and we are exploring opportunities to further our reach in the nuclear fuel cycle and in innovative, non-traditional commercial uses of nuclear power in Canada and around the world.
"We believe we have the right strategy to achieve our vision of energizing a clean-air world and we will do so in a manner that reflects our values. Embedded in all our decisions is a commitment to addressing the environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities that we believe will make our business sustainable over the long term."
Q2 net earnings of $84-million; adjusted net earnings of $72-million: Results are driven by normal quarterly variations in contract deliveries and the continued execution of the company's strategy, including the operational readiness activities to reach planned Tier 1 production by 2024.
- Strong performance in the uranium and fuel services segments: Second quarter results reflect the impact of higher average realized prices in both the uranium and fuel services segments under Cameco's long-term contract portfolio. In its uranium segment the company produced 2.8 million pounds (Cameco's share) during the quarter and delivered 7.6 million pounds at an average realized price 41 per cent higher than the same period last year. In its fuel services segment average realized prices were 8 per cent higher than in the second quarter of 2021.
- Contracting success continues while maintaining leverage to higher prices: In its uranium segment, since the beginning of 2022, Cameco has been successful in adding over 45 million pounds to its portfolio of long-term uranium contracts. Nevertheless, it maintains leverage to higher prices with significant unencumbered future productive capacity and a large and growing pipeline of uranium business under discussion. However, the company is being strategically patient in its discussions to capture as much value as possible in its contract portfolio. In addition, Cameco is focusing its efforts on capturing the improved pricing for its UF6 conversion services under long-term contracts.
- Cigar Lake ownership increase: As announced in May, Cameco, along with Orano, acquired Idemitsu Canada Resources Ltd.'s 7.875-per-cent participating interest in the Cigar Lake joint venture. Cameco's ownership stake in Cigar Lake now stands at 54.547 per cent, 4.522 percentage points higher than it was prior to the transaction.
Cigar Lake production update: Cameco has been successful in catching up on development work that had been deferred from 2021 and now expects to produce 18 million pounds at Cigar Lake (100-per-cent basis) in 2022; its share, including its increased ownership, is approximately 9.5 million pounds.
- Update to operational readiness for McArthur River/Key Lake: During the quarter Cameco continued to advance the recruitment, training and operational readiness activities at the McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill. It expensed the operational readiness costs directly to cost of sales, which totalled approximately $45-million during the quarter. There are now approximately 670 employees and long-term contractors employed at the mine and mill. When the company resumes operations later this year, it expects to have approximately 850 employees and long-term contractors. Cameco's operational readiness activities are transitioning from construction to early-stage commissioning of its mining and milling circuits at McArthur River and Key Lake. Critical automation and digitization projects are being tied into existing infrastructure. In addition, asset condition assessments and subsequent repair and reassembly of all equipment is winding down. However, the company has seen some delays to its work schedule at the Key Lake mill. It has encountered some challenges with respect to the availability of critical materials, equipment and skills. In addition, after four years on care and maintenance, Cameco has experienced some normal commissioning issues as it works to safely and systematically integrate the existing and new assets with updated operating systems. The company has adjusted its schedule to accommodate these delays and anticipate first production will be deferred to later in the fourth quarter. As a result, Cameco is expecting up to two million pounds production (100-per-cent basis) this year.
- JV Inkai shipments still delayed: Cameco continues to work with Inkai and its joint venture partner Kazatomprom to secure an alternative shipping route that does not rely on Russian rail lines or ports. In the meantime, the company continues to delay shipment of its share of Inkai production destined for its Blind River refinery. Year-to-date Cameco has taken no deliveries from its share of Inkai's 2022 production. While the work on enabling shipping via the Trans-Caspian route continues, the company has no confirmed date for when the first shipment with its share of Inkai's production will proceed via that route. Should JV Inkai be unable to execute its sales transactions due to its inability to ship Cameco's share of its 2022 production, the company's 2022 equity earnings and its dividend may be impacted, depending on how and when the issue is resolved.
Strong balance sheet: As of June 30, 2022, Cameco had $1.4-billion in cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments and $997-million in long-term debt. In addition, it has a $1-billion undrawn credit facility.
- 2022 outlook updated: The split between Cigar Lake and McArthur River/Key Lake has changed as noted above, however, over all, Cameco's share of production from its Tier 1 assets remains unchanged at up to 11 million pounds for 2022. The company has updated its outlook for purchase, sales/deliveries, average realized price and direct administration costs. See outlook for 2022 in its second quarter management's discussion and analysis for more information.
Management's discussion and analysis (MD&A) and financial statements
The second quarter MD&A and unaudited condensed consolidated interim financial statements provide a detailed explanation of Cameco's operating results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2022, as compared with the same periods last year. This news release should be read in conjunction with these documents, as well as the company's audited consolidated financial statements and notes for the year ended Dec. 31, 2021, first quarter and annual MD&A, and the company's most recent annual information form, all of which are available on the Cameco website, on SEDAR and on EDGAR.
The technical and scientific information discussed in this document for Cameco's material properties, McArthur River/Key Lake, Cigar Lake and Inkai, was approved by the following individuals who are qualified persons for the purposes of National Instrument 43-101:
McArthur River/Key Lake:
Greg Murdock, general manager, McArthur River/Key Lake, Cameco
Lloyd Rowson, general manager, Cigar Lake, Cameco
Sergey Ivanov, deputy director general, technical services, Cameco Kazakhstan LLP
Cameco invites you to join its second quarter conference call on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, at 8 a.m. Eastern Time.
The call will be open to all investors and the media. To join the call, please dial 800-319-4610 (Canada and United States) or 604-638-5340. An operator will put your call through. The slides and a live webcast of the conference call will be available from a link at the Cameco website. See the link on the company's home page on the day of the call.
A recorded version of the proceedings will be available:
On the Cameco website shortly after the call;
- On postview until midnight, Eastern Time, Aug. 27, 2022, by calling 800-319-6413 (Canada and U.S.) or 604-638-9010 (passcode 9013).
2022 third quarter report release date
Cameco plans to announce its 2022 third quarter results before markets open on Oct. 27, 2022.
About Cameco Corp.
Cameco is one of the largest global providers of the uranium fuel needed to energize a clean-air world. Its competitive position is based on its controlling ownership of the world's largest high-grade reserves and low-cost operations. Utilities around the world rely on the company's nuclear fuel products to generate safe, reliable, carbon-free nuclear power. Cameco's shares trade on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges. Its head office is in Saskatoon, Sask.
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