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KGHM swings YOY to Q4'18 profit; FY'18 earnings up 8.7%

KGHM Polska Miedź SA said March 14 that it swung to a profit of 682 million Polish zlotys in the fourth quarter of 2018, from a loss of 134 million zlotys in the year-ago period.

Group sales revenue for the quarter, however, slid to 5.74 billion zlotys from 5.87 billion zlotys a year ago.

Payable copper production during the period increased 8% to 169,000 tonnes. This includes its 55%-owned Sierra Gorda mine in Chile, which grew its output for the quarter to 15,000 tonnes, from 13,000 tonnes in the comparable period a year ago.

Silver output rose 17% to 357 tonnes, with production of total precious metals — comprising of gold, platinum and palladium — down 19% to 44,800 troy ounces. Meanwhile, molybdenum output for the quarter surged 24% to 4.2 million pounds.

Group C1 cost for the quarter edged higher at US$1.81 per pound from US$1.79 per pound in the comparable year-ago period.

Full-year 2018 profit rose 8.7% to 1.66 billion zlotys, from 1.53 billion zlotys in 2017, on the back of lower impairment on non-current assets, improvement in joint ventures and more favorable exchange differences.

During the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2018, group revenue inched 1% higher to 20.53 billion zlotys. The result was influenced by higher metal prices, but offset by a less favorable U.S. dollar exchange rate.

Payable copper output for the period shrunk 3% to 634,000 tonnes, partly due to a maintenance shutdown at the Głogów II smelter in the third quarter and declining output from its Morrison mine in Ontario. Full-year production at the Sierra Gorda mine, meanwhile, matched year-ago output of 53,000 tonnes, due to higher copper recovery amid lower ore grades.

Silver production over the year slipped 2% to 1,205 tonnes, while a substantial drop in average total precious metals content at the Morrison mine, which will be halted in the first quarter, resulted in a 21% output drop to 174,000 troy ounces. Meanwhile molybdenum production from Sierra Gorda shrunk 25% to 15.3 million pounds, resulting from lower metal content in the extracted ore.

The group's C1 unit cost for the year grew to US$1.81 per pound from US$1.59 per pound, which was affected by an unfavorable foreign exchange rate, an 8% drop in silver prices and a 6% lower production of copper in own concentrate.

C1 cost at Sierra Gorda declined to US$1.31 per pound, from US$1.67 per pound, mainly attributed to higher prices and increased molybdenum sales volumes.

As of March 14, US$1 was equivalent to 3.81 Polish zlotys.