LONDON (Reuters) - West African-focused gold producer Randgold Resources said full-year profit jumped 43 percent as higher gold prices outweighed a decline in production, and plans to raise its dividend by 18 percent.

Annual profit grew to $120.6 million from $84.3 million the previous year and would have been even higher if sales from the FTSE-100 company's new Tongon mine in the Ivory Coast hadn't been affected by the disputed presidential election in November.

"2010 was always going to be a tough year, and it proved even more difficult than expected due to technical problems related to the expansion of the Loulo complex in Mali and the unsettled situation in Cote d'Ivoire," said chief executive Mark Bristow on Monday.

Randgold's production for the year was 440,107 ounces.

The miner said in August that 2010 output could be 5 percent lower than its original 477,000 ounce target and subsequently warned in late December that production would be further reduced by political tension in the Ivory Coast and a smaller contribution from its flagship Loulo project.

At least 260 people have been killed in the Ivory Coast after a disputed Nov. 28 presidential vote. The electoral commission results showed Alassane Ouattara won, but the incumbent Laurent Gbagbo, backed by the nation's top legal body and the military, has refused to concede defeat.

Randgold expects group production to rise to 750,000-790,000 ounces in 2011.

Gold XAU= rose to record highs in 2010 on a weaker dollar and global economic uncertainty, although prices have fallen back this year.


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