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Gold miner Newmont to sell assets, cut jobs after Newcrest buy

Small toy figure and gold imitation are seen in front of the Newmont logo in this illustration

By Divya Rajagopal and Seher Dareen

(Reuters) -Newmont Corp intends to divest eight non-core assets and trim its workforce to cut debt following its $17.14 billion purchase of Newcrest, the world's largest gold miner said on Thursday, as the company beat quarterly profit estimates.

Still, shares fell 7% with analysts highlighting a big impairment charge of $1.2 billion related to its Penasquito mine in Mexico as well as 2024 gold production forecast that fell short of some market expectations.

Newmont aims to realize over $2 billion in cash from portfolio optimization with Newcrest and will focus on growing its tier-1 assets as part of its transformation strategy.

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"A key part of our tier-1 definition is the jurisdictions in which we choose to mine," Newmont CEO Tom Palmer told Reuters.

"A big part of our commitment is to deliver $100 million of free cash flow by bringing Newmont and Newcrest together...there is a reduction in headcount in order to achieve those synergies."

The company is eyeing near-term debt reduction of $1 billion and the divestment will partly help meet that target. Newmont had a total debt of $8.8 billion at the end of last year.

Newmont shares were trading at their lowest since June 2019.

The drop in the yearly dividend, from an average $1.60/share to a fixed dividend of $1.00/share, along with lower production outlook for 2024 was driving shares lower, said Anita Soni, managing director of equity research at CIBC.

Newmont said it expects to produce 6.93 million ounces of gold in 2024, compared with 5.5 million ounces last year.

The company reported adjusted net income of 50 cents per share for the three months ended Dec. 31, beating estimates of 46 cents, per LSEG data.

Chief Operating Officer Rob Atkinson will step down on May 2 and will be succeeded by former Anglo American Platinum top boss Natascha Viljoen as previously announced.

(Reporting by Seher Dareen in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Sriraj Kalluvila)