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Norilsk Nickel's H1 profit surges on higher metal prices

PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co.'s net income attributable to shareholders surged 81% on a yearly basis to US$1.65 billion, or US$10.6 per share, on the back of higher revenue.

Total revenue in the half grew to US$5.83 billion from US$4.25 billion a year ago due to higher realized metal prices, an increase in copper and platinum group metals output and sales of palladium from previous stocks. Norilsk reported US$2.60 billion in free cash flow for the first half, compared to US$512 million a year earlier.

The company forecast a wider nickel market deficit of 124,000 tonnes, compared to a 15,000-tonne deficit forecast at the start of the year. It attributed its expectations to the ramp-up of the stainless steel sector in Indonesia and strong Chinese demand.

EBITDA jumped 77% year over year to US$3.08 billion, driven by higher revenue from metal sales and cost controls.

Operating profit in the half climbed to US$2.72 billion from US$1.41 billion a year ago, according to the company's Aug. 13 earnings release.

CapEx for the six months shrunk 25% on a yearly basis to US$536 million after completing the active construction phase of the Bystrinsky copper-gold project, the modernization of its Talnakh concentrator and a number of energy infrastructure projects in 2017.

The Russian miner reiterated its forecast to cut the net working capital down to US$1 billion by year-end. In the first half, the company reduced it to US$1.72 billion, from US$2.15 billion as of 2017-end.