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Whitehaven Coal releases annual results

Published by , Editor
World Coal,

Whitehaven Coal, the leading independent Australian producer of metallurgical and premium thermal coal, has reported a record net profit after tax of AUS$525.6 million for the year ended 30 June 2018.

Key financial performance metrics improved on the previous corresponding period (pcp):

  • Sales revenue of $2,257.4 million, up 27%.
  • Underlying EBITDA before significant items of AUS$940 million, up 32%.
  • Cash generated from operations of AUS$854 million, up 30%.
  • Net debt reduced to AUS$270.4 million at 30 June 2018 with gearing at 7%.
  • The Board has proposed to pay an unfranked dividend of 27 cents per share to shareholders to be comprised of a final dividend of 14 cents and a special dividend of 13 cents.
  • Unit costs remained in the best quartile and increased to AUS$62/t due to higher fuel prices, increased contractor costs and lower production from Narrabri during the year.

Operating highlights

Managed ROM coal production of 22.9 million t and coal sales of 22.1 million t, were in line with and 7% higher respectively than the pcp, reflecting the ongoing ramp up of Maules Creek and strong performance from the Gunnedah open cuts.

Full year ROM coal production at Maules Creek was 11 million t, an increase of 13% on the pcp. ROM coal production of 5.7 million t from the smaller open cuts was ahead of budget, while production at Narrabri of 6.3 million t was impacted by several localised weighting events and some mechanical issues on the new 400 m wide face, each resolved by year end.

Metallurgical coal sales represented 17% of total sales for the year.


FY19 guidance for saleable coal production is expected to be in the range of 22 million - 230 million t. Costs for the year are likely to increase modestly to AUS$64/t excluding royalties due to higher fuel costs and longer hauls at Maules Creek.

Economic and social contribution

During the year Whitehaven and its joint venture partners made significant contributions to the economies of New South Wales (NSW) and the north west NSW region.

  • AUS$283.9 million paid to the NSW Government in mining royalties.
  • AUS$293.2 million spent with local businesses.
  • A Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was launched during the year, upgraded from the previous Innovate RAP.
  • Donated AUS$445 000 to local community groups.

Commenting on the record results, Whitehaven Coal Managing Director and CEO Paul Flynn said: “It is a compelling and tangible illustration of how Whitehaven has successfully set about building a portfolio of quality assets and executing against an agreed strategy.

“We are at an exciting stage in the company’s evolution in that we are bringing together quality production assets and a development pipeline offering greater scale and geographic diversity, against a backdrop of coal prices at historic highs and a track record of successful delivery.

“The strength of our future prospects is reflected in the Board’s decision to recommend a final dividend of 14 cents per share and a special dividend of 13 cents per share. This brings the total cash returned to loyal shareholders to AUS$595 million in the space of 12 months.

“FY19 is shaping up as another strong year for the company with the outlook for coal demand in Asia set to remain strong across both established and emerging markets. For example Japan, Whitehaven’s largest thermal coal customer, has plans to build up to 30 new ultra-super critical power plants as sub-critical generation capacity is retired.”

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Australia coal news