Russian gold and silver miner Polymetal said on Wednesday it cut its net loss last year to $15.7 million from 2007's $22.8 million, in spite of the economic crisis.

Financial results for 2008 demonstrate excellent fundamentals of our business in the face of the global financial crisis, Vitaly Nesis, CEO of Polymetal, said in a statement.

Significant improvement in operating profitability and competitive cost position will definitely allow us to proceed with the aggressive expansion program and capitalise on the re-emergence of gold as the safe-haven investment of choice.

Earnings before interest, taxation, amortisation and depreciation (EBITDA) rose by 161 percent to $192.6 million, the statement said. Revenues rose by 63 percent to $502.7 million.

Revenues rose due to an increase in gold and silver sales and a rise in the realised metal prices, Polymetal said.

Polymetal produced 285,000 ounces of gold in 2008, which is equal to some 5 percent of total Russian output, and 17.2 million ounces of silver.

The company's net debt stood at $312.3 million at the end of 2008, up 41 percent from a year earlier. (Reporting by Aleksandras Budrys; editing by Simon Jessop)

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