LOSS TURNS INTO PROFIT FOR WHITEHAVEN

Written on the 18 August 2016 by James Perkins

LOSS TURNS INTO PROFIT FOR WHITEHAVEN WHITEHAVEN Coal (ASX: WHC) has turned a $342.7 million loss into a $20.5 million profit in 12 months, according to the company's full year results released today.

The opening of the company's new mine at Maules Creek was the driver of the strong result. It was declared commercial on 1 July and produced 7.8Mt ROM for the year, becoming the company's largest producer.

This led to a record run-of-mine (ROM) of 15.8Mt (up 29 per cent on the previous year) and coal sales 15.5Mt (up 43 per cent) for the group.

As a result, the company posted a 53 per cent increase in sales revenue to $1.16 billion and a 72 per cent rise in operating EBITDA to $224.1 million. Cash generated from operations increased 76 per cent to $269.3 million.

In FY15, the group reported an underlying loss of $10.7 million, but suffered a $355 million impairment in relation to early stage exploration assets.

This year, the company's Narrabri mine set two new monthly production records during the year and is expected to make new records in the coming year when a new 400m wide face longwall is installed in the second half of FY17.

The company reduced its net debt to $76.7 million to $859.1 million, with gearing down to 23 per cent and it reduced costs to $56/t for the year.

Commenting on the results, Whitehaven Coal managing director and CEO, Paul Flynn, says Whitehaven is positive about the medium and long term outlook for coal, particularly the thermal coal that it produces.

"The high quality coal we are producing delivers higher yield and lower emissions and is in growing demand from Asia's new generation of power plants, which are far more efficient and produce lower emissions than those in Australia," he says.

"Whitehaven is establishing a strong track record of making good on its commitments; our growth strategy is being successfully implemented and our growth prospects are encouraging."

Whitehaven shares are trading up 3.68 per cent today, at $2.12 per share.

The company has three operating coal mines at Maules Creek, Narrabri and Gunnedah and is planning another open cut mine located in the Gunnedah basin, called the Vickery Project, which has reserves of 200Mt.



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