South32 half-yr profit vaults higher on strong commodity prices

2017-02-17 08:50:00 Cost & Profit,  International sxcoal.com

Stronger coal and manganese prices lifted half-year underlying earnings from continuing operations at Australia's South32 18-fold to $479 million from a year earlier, beating market expectations, Reuters reported.


The miner, built around a group of unwanted assets spun-off by BHP Billiton , also declared its first interim dividend of $3.6 cents a share.


"The disciplined application of our strategy and stronger commodity prices underpinned a significant improvement in financial performance," Chief Executive Graham Kerr said in a statement.


South32's share price has more than doubled over the past year, aided by the timely acquisition of a metallurgical coal mine in Australia from Peabody Energy.


The miner also enjoyed surging manganese and metallurgical coal prices - up 300% and 200% respectively in 2016 - but prices are now in decline.


So far this year, manganese is down 41% from its 2016 peak, while metallurgical coal is off 47%.


(Writing by Jessie Jia   Editing by Harry Huo)
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