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Asset Sales Boost Earnings For Asarco

New York-based Asarco Inc. reported higher first quarter earnings Monday that were propelled by cash from asset sales and recovery of bad debt.

The mining and mineral refining company earned $65.7 million, or $1.56 per share, the first quarter of this year. That represents a 147 percent increase over the $26.6 million, or 64 cents a share, Asarco earned first quarter 1994.

The sale of Asarco’s interest in Asarco Australia Limited netted a $31.9 million after-tax gain for the company. Asarco also recovered $2.6 million in bad debt it had previously written off.

Asarco owns half of two silver mines in Idaho’s Silver Valley in partnership with Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp.

The company enjoyed higher prices for its base metals than in the previous first quarter, but lower prices for silver, gold and other precious metals it mines.

During the quarter, Asarco upped its interest in the Southern Peru Copper Corp. to 63 percent from 52.3 percent at a cost of $116.4 million. Higher copper prices and the addition of revenues from SPCC aided earnings, the company said.

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