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Fresnillo hikes final dividend as 2017 attributable profit climbs to US$560.6M

Fresnillo Plc's board recommended an increased final dividend of 29.8 U.S. cents per common share, equivalent to about US$219.6 million, after the group's 2017 attributable profit rose to US$560.6 million, including the effects of its Silverstream contract.

Fresnillo's proposed returns compare to the final dividend of 21.5 cents per share declared in 2016, when the company booked a US$427.0 million profit attributable to shareholders. The total dividend for 2017 came to 40.4 cents, up from 30.1 cents a year earlier.

In a Feb. 27 statement, Fresnillo attributed the improved profits in 2017 to the revaluation of foreign exchange rates on its deferred taxes and a 9.2% year-over-year increase in adjusted revenue. The group raked in US$2.23 billion in revenue amid record silver volumes, increased sales volumes for zinc and higher base metal prices.

EBITDA climbed to US$1.06 billion, from US$1.03 billion in 2016, with EPS rising to 76.1 cents from 57.9 cents. Cash costs per tonne of output rose 6.4% across all of the group's mines.

CapEx for the year increased 39.3% to US$604.8 million from 2016 but still fell below the company's guidance. Exploration spending rose 16.4% to US$141.1 million.

Fresnillo expects to produce up to 70 million ounces of silver in 2018 after record production of 58.7 million ounces in 2017. CapEx in 2018 is budgeted at US$755 million, and exploration spending is pegged at about US$200 million.