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Iluka narrows FY'17 net loss to A$171.6M

Iluka Resources Ltd. on Feb. 27 posted a net loss of A$171.6 million for full-year 2017, narrowing from a year-ago net loss of A$224 million.

The company booked a A$106 million posttax impairment of the Hamilton mineral separation plant, a A$30 million posttax charge related to its investment in Metalysis Ltd., and an increase in rehabilitation provisions for closed sites in the U.S. of A$125 million.

The company's mineral sands revenue soared 40% year over year to about A$1.02 billion, with sales volumes of zircon, rutile and synthetic rutile increasing 27% to 889,000 tonnes.

Operating cash flow jumped 185% to A$391.7 million, while free cash flow increased 581% on a yearly basis to A$321.9 million. The company trimmed its net debt by 64% to A$182.5 million at Dec. 31, 2017.

Underlying group EBITDA surged 140% to A$360.5 million on a yearly basis and underlying mineral sands EBITDA was up 192% to A$300.9 million.

Iluka declared a final dividend of 25 cents fully franked, bringing its full-year dividend to 31 cents.

The company expects to produce 705,000 tonnes of zircon, rutile and synthetic rutile in 2018, down from the 825,000 tonnes it produced in 2017. Cash costs are expected to rise from A$362 million to A$405 million this year.

The mineral sands miner expects 2018 CapEx at about A$410 million, mainly reflecting the development at Cataby deposit, part of the Perth Basin project in Western Australia, as well as the Gangama and Lanti Dry expansion projects at the Sierra Rutile project in Sierra Leone.