Copper miner Antofagasta nearly triples dividend after profits jump

Mining truck

The red metal, prized for its conductivity and thermal properties, climbed 27pc in 2017, driving profits higher at Antofagasta and allowing it to fund a 177pc jump in its full-year dividend. The FTSE 100 company will pay 50.9 USA cents a share, or 67pc of its underlying earnings - well above its 35pc threshold. EBITDA increased by 59.1% to $2.59 billion. Before exceptional items, basic earnings per share from continuing operations was 76.1 cents compared to 34.7 cents.

Revenue for the Group in 2017 was $4.75 billion, 31.1% higher than in 2016. "As a result, as copper prices rose in 2017 Antofagasta had another successful year completing the development of Encuentro Oxides, meeting our safety target of zero fatalities and achieving both our production and cost guidance". This will be partially offset by lower mined grades.

This equates to a final dividend of 40.60 United States cents per share, taking the total to 50.90 cents.

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The increased payout follows other mining peers such as Rio Tinto PLC, Glencore PLC, and Anglo American PLC, which all returned much higher payouts than the previous year as earnings were boosted by higher commodity prices.

Mining com reported that Unionized workers at Antofagasta's Los Pelambres copper mine in Chile voted to strike Friday after rejecting the company's latest offer for a collective labour agreement.

It expects the copper market to tighten in the second half of 2018, and to be in balance or in a slight deficit for the whole year, 2019 is more likely to be in deficit, it said.


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