Antofagasta's revenue and profit fall on copper despite cutting costs

James Nickerson
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Antofagasta said it is well position to withstand current market conditions (Source: Getty)

Antofagasta is doing the best it can with falling copper prices by cutting costs, but profit and revenue have taken a hit nonetheless.

The figures

Antofagasta reported revenue 18.5 per cent lower at $1.45bn (£1.12bn) for the first half.

The company, however, reported that earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) had risen by 2.3 per cent to $571.5m, despite a fall in revenue.

Pre-tax profits fell 8.4 per cent to $276.1m.

Meanwhile, earnings per share fell by 3.3 per cent to 8.9 cents.

The interim dividend was declared at 3.1 cents per share and group net debt was posted at $1.04bn.

Antofagasta Antofagasta | mobile image

Why it's interesting

Antofagasta had warned that copper prices will remain low for at least two years, and the effect has hit profits at the miner, causing a drop of more than eight per cent.

Revenue was also hit by falling sales volumes.

However, the company was bullish in stating it had made further progress on cost reductions and improving its margins. It said it had achieved operating cost reductions of £124m, "contributing to savings of $0.11/lb in cash costs".

Read more: Antofagasta warns copper prices will remain low for at least two years

The company said: "On completion of the Group's current capital programmes, together with the restructuring of its operations, it will be well positioned to withstand continued weakness in the copper market and to benefit from its recovery, when it comes."

In fact, it was, the company said, the operating cost reduction which offset falling copper prices and lower sales volumes that led to a rise in Ebitda.

Still, in the chief executive's words, the company is cautious in its outlook given the current economic uncertainty and will remain conservative in managing capital.

Read more: Commodity prices - low point for investors? Wait until 2017

Indeed, capital expenditure was posted at $385.4 million, $276.9 million lower than in the first half of 2015, and full year expenditure is expected to be lower than original guidance.

For the full year copper production is expected to be at the lower end of the 710,000-740,000 tonnes guided in January. And the company added copper market is expected to continue to be volatile as national stimulus programmes, macroeconomic events and movements in the US dollar continue to dominate the financial markets and affect the price of copper.

What Antofagasta said

Cheif exec Iván Arriagada said:

A 24.7 per cent reduction in operating costs offset the decline in the copper price and lower sales volumes resulting in Ebitda of $571.6m, 2.3 per cent higher than in the same period last year.

Continued management actions to reduce costs and preserve cash contributed to our Ebitda margin strengthening to 39.5 per cent, from 26.2 per cent in the full year 2015. While reducing costs in absolute terms is important we are focused on achieving improved efficiencies in a sustainable manner to ensure long-term shareholder value.

Given the current economic uncertainty we are cautious in our outlook and remain conservative in our approach to managing capital. The Board has declared a dividend of 3.1 cents per share equal to 35 per cent of net earnings at the interim, in line with our policy to pay a minimum of 35 per cent of full year net earnings which remains unchanged.

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