Whitehaven, Yancoal dazzle with bumper results
AUSTRALIA’s biggest coal producers continue to roll out record-breaking results on the back of global market price improvements and demand for high-quality coking and thermal coals.
Top independent producer Whitehaven Coal reported a record net profit of $525.6 million for FY18, as production of 22.9 million tonnes (mt) and sales of 22.1mt were in line with and 7 per cent higher respectively than FY17.
This reflected the ongoing ramp up of Maules Creek (11mtpa, up 13 per cent on FY17) and strong performance from the Gunnedah open cuts.
Whitehaven’s coking coal sales represented 17 per cent of total sales for the year.
Unit costs “remained in the best quartile” but increased to $62/t due to higher fuel prices, increased contractor costs, and lower production from Narrabri during the year.
The company said FY19 guidance for saleable coal production would be in the range of 22mt to 23mt, while costs were likely to “increase modestly to $64/t excluding royalties due to higher fuel costs and longer hauls at Maules Creek”.
The Whitehaven Board proposed an unfranked dividend of 27 cents per share to shareholders, comprising a final dividend of 14 cents and a special dividend of 13 cents.
Australia’s biggest coal pure-play Yancoal has completed its turnaround, reporting a before-tax profit of $539m for the half year ended 30 June; a massive improvement on the $18 million loss for the previous corresponding period.
This improved financial performance was driven by sustained high production rates at the tier-one Moolarben, Hunter Valley Operations and Mount Thorley Warkworth joint venture operations.
“The 2017 acquisition of Coal & Allied continues to prove Yancoal’s strategic foresight in negotiating a commercially astute deal capable of strengthening our scale of operations, in preparation for the global coal market’s eventual return,” Yancoal chairman Baocai Zhang said.
The company announced a maiden interim dividend totalling $130 million (unfranked).
Whitehaven Coal chief Paul Flynn.