Kaz Minerals shares jump as new copper mines progress

Jessica Morris
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Kaz's previous cost-cutting efforts are "bearing fruit" (Source: Getty)

Shares in Kaz Minerals closed up 9.90 per cent to 179.90p this afternoon, on a jump in pre-tax profits and progress at its two key copper mines in Kazakhstan.

The figures

The Kazakhstan-focused firm's revenue fell 11 per cent to $302m (£229.7m) in the six months ended 30 June, down from $341m in the first half of 2016.

But pre-tax profit jumped from $2m to $91m during this period, as cash costs fell by more than a third.

Its copper output guidance for this year narrowed to as much as 145,000 tonnes, down from its previous guidance of as much as 155,000 tonnes.

Net debt stood swelled by $250m to $2.5bn at the end of June, but Shore Capital said its balance sheet was still "reasonably healthy".

Why it's interesting

The company is benefiting from a restructuring completed nearly two years ago, which involved a name change from Kazakhmys to Kaz Minerals. It also hived off older, unprofitable copper mines and smelters.

This left Kaz to focus on two potentially transformational, lower-cost projects in Kazakhstan. It said today that the Bozshakol mine is on track to achieve commercial output in the second half, and the other, Aktogay should start production in the second half of 2017.

Kaz added that it "plans to commence discussions with its lenders in the near future with a view to putting in place financing arrangements that are appropriate to the business for 2017 and beyond."

What Kaz Minerals said

Oleg Novachuk, chief executive of Kaz Minerals, said: "While the group is successfully executing its strategy to deliver low-cost growth, we face a challenging external environment as the prices of our key products remain at depressed levels."

"As a first quartile producer with modern, long-life assets, Kaz Minerals is now better positioned to navigate the current downturn in commodity markets and we are taking measures to strengthen the balance sheet, reduce operating costs and scale back capital expenditure where possible."

What the analysts said

Shore Capital said: "Kaz's cost-cutting efforts are bearing fruit, which combined with a weaker tenge, resulted in profits being pleasingly somewhat ahead of our expectations."

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