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Ferrexpo hikes dividend as profit surges 110% in FY'17

Ferrexpo Plc hiked its dividend in 2017 by 150% to 16.5 U.S. cents per share, including a 6.6 cent special dividend, after its net profit more than doubled year over year.

The company recorded a 110% increase in profit attributable to shareholders in 2017 to US$392.9 million, or 66.85 cents per share, according to a March 21 release.

Revenue in the year increased 21% to US$1.2 billion on the back of higher iron ore prices and pellet premiums, despite an 11% drop in sales volumes to 10.5 million tonnes.

Operating profit rose to US$490 million, from US$314 million in 2016, due to higher sales prices partly offset by lower sales volumes and cost inflation.

The results included a US$12 million reduction in net finance expense, a US$19 million increase in nonoperating foreign exchange gains, and an US$11 million reduction in write-offs and allowances.

Ferrexpo's pellet output slumped nearly 7% in 2017 to 10.4 million tonnes.

Production in the first half of 2018 is expected to be in line with output in the first half of 2017, as a 65-day pellet line shutdown is scheduled for the second quarter. Production in the second half is expected to be ahead of the year-ago output.

Capital expenditure in 2017 more than doubled to US$103 million, from US$48 million a year ago. The company reduced its net debt by 32% to US$403 million.