Kenmare shares fall on back of tough first quarter

Kenmare shares fall on back of tough first quarter

By Geoff Percival

Shares in Irish mining firm Kenmare Resources fell by more than 2% on the back of the company reporting a slow start to the year.

The Dublin-based company, which owns the Moma titanium mine in Mozambique, said its heavy mineral concentrate output fell by 12%, to 311,000 tonnes, on a year-on-year basis in the first three months of 2018.

A change of mining direction for one of the mine’s wet concentrator plants and some “unforeseen stoppages” meant first-quarter production was below the company’s expectations.

Kenmare’s share price — down around 24% over the last 12 months — fell by almost 0.8% in Dublin yesterday and over 2% in London on the back of the trading update.

Managing director Michael Carvill said the firm still expects higher production volumes for the year and anticipates achieving the mid-range of its 2018 guidance. That target would equate to around 950,000 tonnes of ilmenite and nearly 70,000 tonnes of zircon being produced this year.

Davy Stockbrokers said demand for titanium feedstock and zircon remains strong and pricing is increasing as expected. Davy said it expects Kenmare to ship over 1m tonnes of final product in 2018.

Kenmare returned to full-year profit last year, posting an after-tax profit of $19.4m (€15.6m) for 2017, compared to a loss of $15.2m in 2016.

“A dip in first-quarter mining output, compared to recent quarters, reflects tougher mining conditions and stoppages. That said, with maintenance programmes completed and planned expansion work on track, annual mid-range production guidance for 2018 has been maintained,” said Davy analyst Job Langbroek.

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