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Zijin budgeting 5B yuan for M&A; FY'18 earnings up 16.7%

After acquiring stakes in Canada's Nevsun Resources Ltd. and Serbia's RTB Bor Group, Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. is seeking other overseas M&A opportunities and budgeted 5 billion Chinese yuan for potential transactions, company President and Vice Chairman Lan Fusheng told reporters March 25 in Hong Kong.

Lan also expects capital expenditures this year to hit 6 billion yuan; about 400 million yuan of that will be spent on exploration. He also said Zijin will focus on acquiring overseas mining assets as they are more attractive in terms of the quality and price.

Executive Director and Senior Executive Vice President George Fang said earlier this month that the company is open to gold opportunities to increase its asset portfolio.

The miner on March 23 reported a 16.7% year-over-year rise in its net profit attributable to shareholders for 2018 to 4.1 billion yuan. EPS stood at 18 fen, up from 16 fen. The board recommended a dividend of 1 yuan for every 10 shares.

Lan attributed the growth in earnings to strong production. The company's gold production in 2018 increased 13% year over year to 7.8 million ounces. Copper production was up 7.4% to 683,078 tonnes. Zinc output was down 1.25% to 461,169 tonnes.

Operating revenues rose 12.1% to 105.99 billion yuan from the previous year. Finance costs fell 37.7% to 1.25 billion yuan, compared with 2.01 billion yuan a year earlier.

As of March 25, US$1 was equivalent to 6.71 Chinese yuan.