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KAZ Minerals FY'17 profit surges YOY

KAZ Minerals PLC's net profit in 2017 surged to US$447 million, or US$1.00 per share, from US$177 million, or 40 cents per share, in 2016.

The London-listed miner decided to not recommend a final dividend for 2017, continuing the trend seen in the first half and the prior year, according to a Feb. 22 news release.

Dividend payments were suspended in 2013 as it focused capital on developing the Bozshakol and Aktogay copper projects in Kazakhstan.

The increase in profit was mainly due to greater contributions from the ramp-up of the Bozshakol and Aktogay operations, partially offset by interest costs.

Revenue more than doubled to US$1.66 billion, from US$766 million in 2016, on the back of higher sales volumes for copper, gold and silver and higher realized prices.

EBITDA, excluding special items, jumped to US$1.04 billion in 2017 from US$351 million a year earlier.

Net debt declined to US$2.06 billion at the end of 2017, compared to US$2.67 billion a year ago, due to strong operating cash flow and lower-than-expected project expansion CapEx of US$196 million, against guidance of US$300 million.

The company booked an 80% yearly rise in copper output to 258,500 tonnes, gold production rose to 178,700 ounces from 127,700 ounces, and silver output rose to 3.51 million ounces from 3.28 million ounces.

In terms of gross cash cost, the company recorded US$1.21 per copper pound at the Bozshakol mine in 2017, increasing from US$1.06/lb a year ago.

Gross cash cost at the Aktogay mine improved to US$1.00/lb from US$1.14/lb.

The East Region operations in Kazakhstan and Bozymchak operations in Kyrgyzstan recorded gross cash costs of US$2.08/lb, compared to US$1.91/lb in 2016.

In 2018, KAZ expects copper production of between 270,000 and 300,000 tonnes, including 95,000 to 105,000 tonnes from the Bozshakol mine and 90,000 to 105,000 tonnes from the Aktogay mine.

The gross cash cost in 2018 is estimated between US$1.30 /lb and US$1.50/lb at Bozshakol and US$1.10/lb to US$1.30/lb at Aktogay.

The East Region operations and Bozymchak are expected to produce about 65,000 tonnes of copper, with gross cash cost of between US$2.30/lb and US$2.50/lb.