Thursday 22 August 2019 7:39 am

Antofagasta on track for record copper production

Despite lower prices, a jump in copper sales boosted Antofagasta’s top and bottom lines and set it on track for a record year of production.

Revenue jumped 19.1 per cent at the miner to more than $2.5bn (£2bn), while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 44 per cent to $1.3bn.

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The company also managed to pay off several hundred million in net debt, which dropped to $78.9m from $517.4m.

Copper production grew 22.2 per cent to 387,300 tonnes, with all of the company’s mines doing better.

Guidance remains the same, with copper production set to hit between 750,000 to 790,000 tonnes. Net cash cost guidance was reduced by $0.05 earlier this year to $1.25 per pound.

The company also managed to cut costs by 22 per cent over the first half the year.

“In line with our plan for the year, copper production during the half year period increased by 22% and we expect this rate of production to continue into the second half of 2019, which we expect to be another year of record copper production,” said chief executive Iván Arriagada, sounding bullish.

However, he had a more a cautious note on trade.

“While the outlook for the copper market remains uncertain with the protracted negotiations between the USA and China impacting global trade, Antofagasta continues to be in a strong position generating solid cash flows and improving returns. We have the assets, capabilities and disciplined capital allocation strategy that allow us to deliver long-term value for all our stakeholders even in a challenging external macro environment.”

Shares had fallen around 0.8 per cent to 813p by 11am this morning.

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Tom Stevenson at Fidelity Person Investing, a financial services corporation, said: “Antofagasta is relying on self-help to counter the demand drag from the ongoing US-China trade war.”

He added: “Fags is right to focus on what it can control. The company reminded the market, however, that in the absence of a resolution to the trade dispute sentiment the copper price is likely to remain weak. That means the profits outlook in 2020 might not be so good.”

Main image credit: Getty