Irish mining firm Kenmare Resources has confirmed it will pay a first-ever dividend to shareholders in October, after posting a significant rise in revenues and profits for 2018.
The company, which owns and operates the Moma titanium mine in Mozambique, announced plans for a maiden dividend last October, saying it would look to return a minimum of 20% of its after-tax profits to shareholders.
"The company is working towards paying modest dividends from 2019, with plans to increase capital returns materially from 2021 after our current development projects have been delivered," Kenmare said.
The October payout will be based on Kenmare's first-half performance this year. Last month Kenmare overcame the last major hurdle to paying a dividend after the High Court passed the company's share premium account capital reduction plan.
Kenmare's chairman Steven McTiernan said the company's board is "acutely aware of the need to deliver tangible returns to shareholders who have supported the company through a number of difficult years".
"We are currently in the process of completing the group rationalisation and addressing the applicable conditions for the payment of dividends," he said.
Kenmare's shares - already down around 20% over the past 12 months - were unmoved despite a strong set of annual results.
Those results showed a 26% rise in 2018 revenues to $262.2m (€232m); a 54% jump in earnings - on an Ebitda basis - to $93.3m and a 162% surge in post-tax profit to $50.9m. Kenmare closed the year in a net cash position of $13.5m, in contrast to having a $34.1m net debt at the end of 2017.
The company produced 958,000 tonnes of ilmenite and remains on course for its target of 1.2 million tonnes per year by 2021.
Managing director Michael Carvill said 2018 was the third straight year in which Kenmare achieved its production guidance and delivered record shipment volumes.
"Average received prices for our products were higher in 2018 compared to 2017 and we see a positive outlook due to continued demand growth," he said.
"This  performance looks to be maintained into 2019 and so far the work on its expansion projects suggests that the group will also deliver these on time and budget over the next two years. Kenmare is in a better place than for some time," said Davy's Job Langbroek.