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mergers and acquisitions

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    Cameco profit rises , may consider acquisitions

    TORONTO, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Cameco Corp's profit jumped 52.5 percent in the fourth quarter despite shortfalls at its nuclear fuel division, the company said on Wednesday, while its chief executive suggested the company may soon be on the prowl for acquisitions.

    Cameco, the world's top uranium producer, has largely stayed out of the mining M&A boom over the last three years, a decision some have criticized as short-sighted, particularly as uranium spot prices jumped to record highs last year.

    Speaking on a conference call, however, Chief Executive Jerry Grandey said the recent weakness in equity markets had pulled stock valuations down to the point where large deals might again be appealing.

    "We're certainty getting closer. We've seen a pretty dramatic decline (in valuations,)" he said.

    The world's top uranium producer earned C$61 million, or 17 Canadian cents a share, in the quarter, up from a year-earlier C$40 million, or 11 Canadian cents a share, but the results lagged the analysts' estimate of 46 Canadian cents a share.
    Cigar Lake, which flooded in 2006, is now expected to open in 2011 at the earliest. Cameco said on Wednesday it believes it has sealed off the water inflow area, and hopes to pump water out of the mine in the second half of 2008, after which it will be able to give a firmer production start update.

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