*on buyback* Nickel Asia Corporation
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Nickel Asia profit jumps 41% to P2.7B 

NICKEL Asia Corporation, the country’s top nickel miner, posted core net income of P2.77 billion in 2017, up 41 percent from the previous year as higher prices offset lower output.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on Wednesday, Nickel Asia said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) amounted to P7 billion compared to P5.71 billion in the prior year.

Nickel Asia said net income in 2017 was inclusive of a P198 million share of equity in net income from investment in both the Taganito HPAL Nickel Corporation and in Coral Bay Nickel Corporation, a turnaround from the equity loss of P413.7 million reported in 2016.

For 2017, the company sold an aggregate 17.7 million wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore versus19.3 million WMT in the previous year.

“The drop in shipment volumes was mainly the result of a prolonged rainy season in the south of the country, where three of the Company’s mines are located, and a change in the ore mix to higher value ore,” it said.

Despite the drop, revenues rose 11.4 percent to P15.74 billion from P14.12 billion in 2016 due to higher prices for its ore products coupled with the change in the ore mix and a more favorable peso to US dollar exchange rate.

On a combined basis, the company said the average price received for sales of both saprolite and limonite ore in 2017 was $16.17 per WMT, 11 percent higher than the prior year’s $14.51 per WMT.
Of the total volume of ore shipped, 9.0 million WMT was saprolite ore and 8.7 million WMT was limonite ore. This compares to 7.4 million WMT of saprolite ore and 11.9 million WMT of limonite ore in 2016.

“Despite the relaxation of Indonesia’s ore export ban in 2017, we saw nickel prices improving, mainly on the back of stronger demand and a second year of a global supply deficit,” Nickel Asia President and CEO Gerard H. Brimo said.

He said Nickel Asia anticipates continuing strong demand for the metal, in part due to the growth taking place in the battery sector.

“We note as well decreasing inventory levels for refined nickel in various commodity markets, an indication of continuing supply deficit, which should provide strong support to prices”, Brimo added.

source: http://www.manilatimes.net/nickel-asia-p...7b/386281/

PH miners face stiffer competition in world market

The local mining sector is expecting a tougher business environment this year as the return of Indonesia to the international market is seen to pose stiff competition, said the chief of the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (COMP).

COMP president and Nickel Asia Corp. CEO Gerard H. Brimo said that would be the biggest challenge in 2018, given that Indonesia was known to be one of the most important mining countries in the region with more than 500 mining projects nationwide.

To recall, the Indonesian government decided to impose a ban on unprocessed ore exports in 2014 to boost higher-value smelting industries, but the country’s economy faced a substantial budget deficit and missed its revenue target in 2016 by $17.6 billion.

With the resumption of shipments, the Indonesian government is hoping to help bridge the budget gap.

Brimo is banking on the “continuing strong demand for the metal, in part due to the growth taking place in the battery sector” to keep Philippine nickel exports at healthy levels.

The continuing decrease in the inventory of refined nickel in the global market also remains as an indication of the lack of supply of the metal, which Brimo said “should provide strong support to prices.”

COMP executive director Ronnie Recidoro said “Indonesia’s return will have an impact on nickel prices, although a lot will also depend on China’s economy and its need for the metal for its steel and renewable energy industry.”

“If China’s demand exceeds current supply levels, then the impact of Indonesia’s additional supply could be blunted,” he added.

Marcventures Holdings Inc. president Isidro Alcantara also expressed “deep concerns” about the mining sector’s outlook for the year, adding that the sector “will need the support and understanding of the government in looking at further fiscal regime changes.”

To recall, the Duterte administration is considering implementing a ban on ore exports to encourage domestic processing.

“That Indonesia is suddenly opening up direct ore shipments should also give us a pause on a total export ban. We need to study this carefully and allow time for a full or partial transition and we will also need a properly calibrated policy framework and strong government support to ensure its success,” Alcantara said.

“Given the very large investments needed for ore processing, if we rush it, we may end up having to bring foreign investors who may even take control of the nickel processing companies. In that case, the benefits of the country would not be as much as it should,” he added.

The executive also noted studies that point to up to 50 percent rise in Indonesia’s production in 2018.

source: http://business.inquirer.net/248380/ph-m...rld-market

UPDATE 1-Philippines' top nickel miner keeps sales guidance despite govt curbs

* Nickel Asia sees 2018 nickel ore shipments up 13 pct from 2017
* Manila plans to limit mining areas to boost rehabilitation
* Philippines was top nickel ore supplier to China last year (Adds more quotes, share prices, details)

MANILA, April 24 (Reuters) - The Philippines’ top nickel ore producer, Nickel Asia Corp, said its export plans in 2018 remain unchanged despite government plans to limit mining areas.

Nickel Asia still intends to ship about 20 million tonnes of nickel ore this year, up 13 percent from 2017, Emmanuel Samson, the senior vice president for finance at the company, said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

Samson’s comments followed a Reuters report on Monday that the Philippine government intends to limit the amount of land that miners can develop at any one time to spur environmental rehabilitation, according to a draft government order.

The new curbs come after a crackdown on mining last year that has left more than half the country’s mines facing suspension or closure due to environmental breaches.

Shares in Nickel Asia fell as much as 6.7 percent on Tuesday following the Reuters report. Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc , the Philippines’ second-biggest nickel ore producer, slumped as much as 7.1 percent.

The mineral deposits at all four of Nickel Asia’s mines run deep so the limits in the mining areas should not affect current production volumes, even for its smaller mines, said Samson.

“What we need to do is to perhaps accelerate our rehabilitation of our disturbed areas and we’re so used to doing this. Every year we do progressive rehabilitation.” he said.

Under the government plan, mines producing up to 1 million tonnes of nickel ore a year will be allowed to work on 50 hectares (124 acres) at any one time. That would increase to up to 100 hectares for mines with output of 9 million tonnes and above. Projects with a processing plant will be allowed up to 162 hectares.

Companies will have to re-forest areas that have been mined above the limits before opening up any new land.

The biggest of Nickel Asia’s mines covers nearly 5,000 hectares and the smallest is about 700 hectares.

Nickel Asia, partly owned by Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining Co, has two nickel processing plants, the only such facilities in the Philippines.

The company sold 17.7 million tonnes of nickel ore last year, mainly to Japan and China, down 8 percent from 2016.

The Philippines was the biggest nickel ore supplier to top market China last year, shipping nearly 30 million tonnes. Indonesia has been the top supplier so far this year after Jakarta relaxed its ore export policy.

source: https://www.reuters.com/article/philippi...SL3N1S1316

Nickel Asia Q1 net up 53%

Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC) has reported a 53-percent increase in its net income in the first quarter  to P576 million from P377.5 million a year ago.

This was despite the softening of ore prices in the world market brought about by the rise in supply coming from Indonesia following the partial lifting of its export ban on ore.

In a disclosure to the Philippines Stock Exchange, NAC said its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) dropped to P685.1 million from P1.34 billion a year ago.

Prices of ore during the period went down to $17.07 per wet metric ton (WMT) from $31.67 per WMT in the same period last year.

NAC’s operations in its Rio Tuba and Taganito mines produced 1.09 million WMT and 1.06 million WMT of ore for export, respectively.

Revenue went down to P2.16 billion in the first quarter from P2.49 billion in the same period last year.

“We are now feeling the effects of weaker prices on our traditional business of ore exports to China and Japan as a result of increased supply from Indonesia,” said NAC president and CEO Gerard H. Brimo.

“On the other hand, we are fortunate that there has been a significant price improvement on our deliveries to the two processing plants, which are linked to LME (limonite ore) prices,” he added.

In contrast to lower prices of ore exports, LME nickel prices have been on the rise as demand for nickel for use in batteries for electric vehicles continue to grow. The company realized an average of $6.02 per pound of payable nickel on 2 million WMT of limonite ore deliveries to its two plants.

This is higher than the average price of $4.66 per pound a year ago, with 1.99 million WMT of limonite ore.

This offset the decline in the company’s revenue from ore exports.

“This component of our business [processing] will be the key drivers of our earnings this year,” Brimo noted.

source: http://business.inquirer.net/250246/nick...-q1-net-53

Mining firm bullish on nickel prospects

Listed Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC), the country’s biggest nickel miner, is banking on the growing global demand for nickel in the next few years to grow its revenue, given the increase in the use of the commodity for the production of batteries for electric vehicles.

During the annual stockholders’ meeting of NAC, chief finance officer Emmanuel Samson said the company  was planning to increase its shipment volume for the year by 13 percent to 20 million wet metric tons (WMT) from last year’s 17.7 million WMT to meet the rising demand for nickel.

A shortfall in the supply of the commodity is seen in the next few years as analysts are projecting nickel demand to grow at the same rate as the growth in the use of batteries for electric vehicles.

“The inventory right now is down to below 300,000 tons of the metal and the high was about 480,000. It shows that there’s good demand for the metal and a growing supply deficit,” said company president and CEO Gerard H. Brimo.

“The growing EV (electric vehicle) market will be a game changer for nickel down the road. We’re expecting good results in the future,” Samson added.

Currently, NAC operates four mines in the country, one of which is still subject to a pending closure order by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Meanwhile, a mining site it acquired in Isabela in 2015 is still in development stage and may not yet be operational within the year, said Brimo.

source: http://business.inquirer.net/251561/mini...-prospects

...earnings report...income up, very nice Tongue

Nickel Asia net income up 30% in 9 months

MANILA, Philippines — Listed Nickel Asia Corp. recorded a 30 percent increase in net income to P4.5 billion from January to September amid the shift in ore shipments and a favorable exchange rate.

In a report to the local bourse, Nickel Asia said it earned P4.53 billion from January to September, 26 percent higher than the P3.59 billion it generated in 2017.

Revenue went up 16 percent to P13.9 billion following the company’s focus on shipments of its higher value saprolite ore coupled by a stronger dollar.

“Our ability to optimize ore export grades and the improved results of our investments in the two processing plants highlighted the period,” Nickel Asia president Martin Antonio Zamora said.

Nickel Asia’s net share of earnings on its 10 percent stake in Coral Bay and Taganito processing plants amounted to P617 million from the P21 million in 2017 driven by strong cobalt prices, a by-product of both plants.

The company’s operating mines sold 15.55 million wet metric tons (WMT) of nickel ore, nine percent higher year-on-year.

Prices of nickel ore exports averaged at $20.17 per WMT during the period, down 17 percent from the average selling price of $24.28 per WMT in the comparative period.

Low-grade limonite ore shipped to the Coral Bay and Taganito processing plants, which remain linked to prices at the London Metal Exchange, fetched an average price of $6.21 per pound of payable nickel compared to $4.49 per pound sold a year earlier.

The realized peso-dollar exchange rate for ore sales during the first three quarters of the year was P52.87 compared to P50.28 during the same period last year.

Nickel Asia is a global supplier of lateritic nickel ore and exports both saprolite and limonite ore to customers in Japan and China.

Its operating mines are Rio Tuba, Taganito, Cagdianao and Taganaan, all located in the southern part of the Philippines.

source: https://www.philstar.com/business/2018/1...0-9-months
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...buyback na din kagaya ni FNI

Nickel Asia to buy back up to P1.5B of its shares

LISTED mining company Nickel Asia Corporation on Tuesday said its board of directors approved the plan to buy back up to P1.5 billion worth of shares in the next two years.

“Given the current weakness of the market, now is an opportune time for the company to repurchase its own shares, which has been exceedingly undervalued,” Martin Antonio G. Zamora, president of Nickel Asia, said in a statement.

“The objectives of the buyback program are to enhance shareholder value and to manifest confidence in the company’s inherent value and long-term prospects,” he added.

The share buyback program will start on Dec. 3, 2018, and will end on Dec. 2, 2020. The total number of shares to be repurchased has not been determined yet as it would depend on the share price.

Nickel Asia reported its attributable net income rose 35% to P3.54 billion for the first nine months of 2018.

source: https://www.bworldonline.com/nickel-asia...ts-shares/
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