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MOSCOW, April 7 (Reuters) - Norilsk Nickel, the world's top nickel and palladium producer, reported a 64 percent drop in its net profit on Monday, hit by write-offs due to weaker metals prices.
The Russian firm said its net profit dropped to $765 million last year, although before the write-offs it would have been down just 15 percent at $2.6 billion, beating the average forecast of $2.3 billion given in a Reuters poll of analysts.
The company wrote off $841 million from property, plant and equipment, including a $307 million impairment on the upstream operations on the Kola peninsula, and has taken an additional $728 million revaluation loss related to financial assets, including its stakes in Russian energy companies.
Revenue was also down, by 7 percent to $11.5 billion due to lower nickel, copper and platinum prices, positively offset by the resilient palladium prices, the company said in a statement.
The company's earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell 15 percent to $4.2 billion in 2013, matching analysts' forecasts.
Norilsk, part-owned by indebted aluminium giant Rusal , had previously returned $1.1 billion to shareholders as dividends for the first nine months of 2013. Its dividend target for 2013-14 states that it will pay not less than $2 billion per year.
(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Editing by Elizabeth Piper, Greg Mahlich)