By Madelaine Miraflor
Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC), the country’s largest producer of lateritic nickel ore and one of the largest in the world, is expecting to end 2017 with better earnings after a steep fall of 3.4 percent last year.
Without mentioning any figure, NAC president and chief executive officer Gerard Brimo said the company’s third quarter earnings will be “better” on the back of higher nickel prices globally.
“We are doing okay this year. Prices are a little bit better,” Brimo told reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (PH-EITI) Reception Dinner held in Pasay.
“We are expecting slightly lower volume but bigger revenues because prices were better this year than last year,” he further said.
Most of the country’s production of nickel– which is used mainly to make stainless steel– goes to China to support the industrial industry of the world’s second biggest economy.
Last week, London nickel futures soared to a six-week high as China’s steel prices improved significantly on the back of Chinese government’s call for industrial plants to limit pollution.
Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange was particularly up by 3.4 percent at $12,135 a ton by 0742 GMT of October 20, its highest since September 8 when it hit $12,165 a ton, according to a Reuters report.
In 2016, NAC’s profit slid by 3.4 percent on the weight of lower nickel prices as well as a decline in its sales volume.
NAC particularly booked P1.97 billion in net earnings, which was much lower than the P2.04 billion it had in 2015. It’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) also went down by 13 percent to P5.69 billion.
Nickel prices were then at much lower levels because of the economic slowdown felt in China.
The listed mining firm, however, started to see a recovery in the first half of this year, a momentum that the company hopes to sustain until December.
In the first six months of this year, NAC saw its income jumping to P1.54 billion from P24 million in the same period in 2016. It’s EBITDA was also up 98 percent from P1.84 billion last year to P3.64 billion.
The company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) also grew by 98 percent to P3.64 billion from P1.84 billion last year.
“By focusing our efforts on the shipment of higher-value saprolite ore, we benefited from higher ore prices, particularly in the first quarter,” Brimo said in an earlier report.