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Polymetal's FY'18 net earnings flat; ore reserves up 15% YOY

Polymetal International PLC said March 11 that full-year 2018 net earnings were stable at US$355 million, or 79 cents per diluted share, compared with US$354 million, or 81 cents per diluted share.

Revenue for the year inched up 4% to US$1.88 billion, resulting from 9% higher gold equivalent production. During the year, output climbed 9% year over year to 1.56 million gold equivalent ounces, beating full-year guidance of 1.55 Moz.

Underlying net earnings — which excluded the impact of nonrecurring items and significant noncash items increased 19% to US$447 million, attributed to EBITDA growth and lower depreciation and income taxes.

Adjusted EBITDA for the period grew 5% to US$780 million, driven by higher production volumes and stable cost performance.

Meanwhile, the miner's board proposed a final dividend of 31 cents per share, equivalent to about US$146 million. This increases the total dividend for the full-year to 48 cents from 44 cents a year earlier.

In 2018, capital expenditure shrunk 10% to US$344 million, below its guidance of US$400 million. This was after the completion and launch of its Kyzyl project in Kazakhstan ahead of original schedule, with capex totaling US$319 million, below its original US$325 million budget.

Net debt as of Dec. 31, 2018, rose 7% to US$1.52 billion.

At the end of 2018, gold equivalent group ore reserves rose 15% yearly to 24.0 Moz, following the conversion of resource to reserves at its Mayskoye operation in Russia, as well as the completion of a revised estimate at its Nezhda property in Russia after consolidating the mine's ownership.

Ore reserves comprised of a 21% increase in gold reserve to 22.3 Moz, with silver reserve depleted by 15% to 135.0 Moz, copper reserves plummeting 40% to 49,100 tonnes and zinc reserves tanking 79% to 18,100 tonnes.

For 2019 and 2020, gold equivalent production is expected to come in between 1.55 Moz and 1.6 Moz, in line with 2018 output.

In a separate same-day statement, the miner said Ian Cockerill will join its board as an independent nonexecutive director, effective April 23. Chairman Bobby Godsell and Director Jonathan Best will not stand for re-election to Polymetal's board at the April 23 AGM , with Cockerill stepping in to fill in Godsell's role as chairman.