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Glencore boosts FY'17 dividend as net income surges 319% YOY

TOP NEWS

Glencore FY'17 net income surges 319% to US$5.78B

Glencore Plc's net income attributable to shareholders for 2017 surged 319% to US$5.78 billion from US$1.38 billion in 2016, leading to a cash distribution of 20 cents per share, totaling about US$2.9 billion. Revenue in the year swelled to US$205.48 billion, from US$152.95 billion a year ago. Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg said 2017's results were the company's "strongest on record, driven by our leading Marketing and Industrial asset businesses." During an earnings call, Glasenberg said the company would consider M&A opportunities, as it has headroom to grow.

Chad agrees to restructure US$1B debt with Glencore

Chad agreed to restructure more than US$1 billion in debt with Glencore, Bloomberg News reported. The agreement will see the maturity of the loan extending to 12 years, with the African country also receiving a two-year grace period. The interest rate is also reduced to the benchmark London Interbank Offered Rate plus 2%, compared to LIBOR plus 7.5% previously.

Brazil's miners ramp up vaccination campaigns amid yellow fever outbreak

Minas Gerais, the southeastern Brazilian state hosting most mining operations in the country, continues to battle a severe yellow fever outbreak that led authorities to declare a state of emergency in January. Mining operations in the Minas Gerais area have so far not been affected, companies including Vale SA, Kinross Gold Corp., AMG Advanced Metallurgical Group NV, Nexa Resources SA and Alcoa Corp. told S&P Global Market Intelligence. However, many introduced protective measures and are vigilant.

DIVERSIFIED

* Glencore said it has not been paying royalties to Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler since he was sanctioned by the U.S. government, the Financial Times reported. According to the report, Glencore owes around US$200 million in royalties from its mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Gertler-affiliated firms over the next two years. The company added that it has yet to figure out a way to fulfill its obligation.

BASE METALS

* Apple Inc. is seeking contracts to directly buy long-term supplies of cobalt from miners for the first time, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The company is said to be in talks to secure several thousand tonnes of cobalt per year from miners for five years or longer, in a bid to ensure sufficient supplies for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries used in its iPhone and iPad devices.

* OZ Minerals Ltd.'s net profit in 2017 jumped 114% year over year to A$231.1 million, driven by strong operational performance. The company's revenue also climbed 24% on a yearly basis to A$1.02 billion.

* Hudbay Minerals Inc. posted net profit of US$99.7 million and US$163.9 million for the fourth quarter and full year 2017, swinging from year-ago net losses of US$47.3 million and US$35.2 million, respectively.

* Southern Copper Corp., which won an auction for the Michiquillay copper mine in Peru, plans to invest about US$2.5 billion in the project. The project is expected to produce 225,000 tonnes of copper per year beginning in 2025.

* A preliminary economic assessment for Tahoe Resources Inc.'s La Arena II project in Peru defined a posttax net present value of US$824 million, discounted at 8%, with a 14.7% internal rate of return and a 4.6-year payback period.

* A pre-feasibility study for Trilogy Metals Inc.'s Arctic copper-zinc-lead-silver-gold deposit at its polymetallic Upper Kobuk property in Alaska outlined a base-case after-tax net present value of US$1.41 billion, discounted at 8%, and an internal rate of return of 33.4%.

PRECIOUS METALS

* IAMGOLD Corp. booked attributable net earnings of US$501.6 million for 2017, up significantly from US$52.6 million in 2016, helped by impairment reversals at its Cote and Rosebel operations, as well as higher gross profit.

* Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd.'s fourth-quarter 2017 net income totaled US$41.0 million, jumping from US$3.1 million reported a year ago. The quarterly results were driven by higher earnings from continuing operations, reflecting increased revenue and improved unit costs thanks to a full quarter of production from the Fosterville mine in Victoria, Australia.

* Sibanye Gold Ltd. flagged a 2017 attributable loss of 4.44 billion South African rand, swinging from a 2016 profit of 3.47 billion rand, mainly due to heavy losses booked in the first half of 2017 amid factors including impairment losses, provisions for healthcare claims and restructuring costs.

* Hochschild Mining Plc's profit from continuing operations attributable to shareholders for full year 2017 declined to US$41.6 million from US$45.6 million a year ago. The company proposed a final dividend of 1.965 cents per share, up 42% from the 2016 final dividend. Meanwhile, Hochschild CEO Ignacio Bustamante said the company is looking to diversify into other metals, including copper and zinc as well as other minerals linked to electronics and batteries. However, gold and silver will remain the miner's top priority, Reuters reported.

* Randgold Resources Ltd. CEO Mark Bristow told Reuters that the company is targeting its first acquisition outside of Africa in a bid to diversify its asset holdings. Should the company fail to find an asset that falls in line with its appetite, it will continue to give the money back to shareholders, Bristow added.

* Primary Gold Ltd. shares jumped over 28% on the ASX on Feb. 21 after the company agreed to a conditional takeover offer from China Hanking Holdings Ltd., which already has about an 8.4% stake in the company.

* Polymetal International Plc signed its first off-take contract for high-carbon concentrate from its Kyzyl gold-copper project in Kazakhstan, but did not disclose the identity of the buyer.

* Genesis Minerals Ltd. posted a 55% jump in contained gold at its Ulysses deposit in Western Australia, with the average grade increasing 31% as compared to the previous estimate completed May 2017. Ulysses now hosts measured, indicated and inferred resources totaling 3.3 million tonnes at an average 3.0 g/t of gold for 320,700 ounces.

BULK COMMODITIES

* Alumina Ltd. swung to a net profit of US$339.8 million for full year 2017 from a year-ago net loss of US$30.2 million. The company hiked its dividend by 125% to 13.5 cents apiece.

* Adani Enterprises Ltd. abandoned its March deadline to complete the funding for the first stage of its proposed Carmichael coal mine in Queensland after a government loan for the project was completely taken off the table in late 2017. "It's no longer the timeline," an Adani Australia spokeswoman told The Australian Financial Review, adding that the company remains fully committed to the project.

* Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. launched an offer to purchase for cash up to US$1.40 billion in the aggregate principal amount of its 9.750% senior secured notes due 2022.

* According to Sanjeev Gupta, his GFG Alliance vehicle will continue its buying spree this year, particularly targeting assets in the auto and steel sectors in India, and could raise capital through debt or equity markets, Reuters reported. GFG also plans to build out its Australian business, and Gupta said the pace of acquisitions would be the same as 2017, "if not faster."

* Wesfarmers Ltd. said it is continuing the strategic review of its remaining coal asset, a 40% interest in the Bengalla mine in New South Wales, Australia, and plans to complete the sale of its Curragh coal mine in Queensland in the second half, Mining Weekly reported.

SPECIALTY

* Triton Minerals Ltd. will acquire full ownership of Grafex Ltda. and its graphite assets in Mozambique after entering into an agreement to acquire Gregory James Sheffield's 20% interest in the company for US$1.5 million.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Citigroup, a major lender to mining companies and commodity traders, created a new position to manage its corporate banking activities in natural resources across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the Financial Times reported. The firm tapped Marie-Christine Olive for the role.

* South Africa's parliament plans to investigate allegations of influence peddling against the country's mines minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, Reuters reported.

* The government of Rwanda will release 50 new licenses for metals mining, including gold, tin and tantalum, in a bid to bolster investment in the country this year. According to Bloomberg News, the Rwanda Development Board expects to attract US$2 billion of investments this year from US$1.67 billion last year.

* The National Stock Exchange of Australia, or NSX, launched an assault to take on the ASX "head to head" with a bid to lure the country's mining explorers to list. "A wave of entrepreneurial activity coupled with high retail investor participation rates in Australia has opened up significant opportunities for us," NSX CEO Ann Bowering said at the RIU Explorers Conference in Fremantle, Western Australia.

S&P Global Market Intelligence is owned by S&P Global Inc.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7 a.m. Hong Kong time, and scans news sources published in Chinese, English, Indonesian, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Ukrainian. Some external links may require a subscription.