PJSC Polyus (LSE, MOEX — PLZL) («Polyus», the «Company» and together with its subsidiaries, the «Group»), the largest gold producer in Russia, has today released its consolidated financial results for the first half of 2017.
Pavel Grachev, Chief Executive Officer of PJSC Polyus, commented:
Polyus made good operational and financial progress during the first half of 2017. The Company’s development projects have all advanced considerably in the period. Polyus’ flagship greenfield project Natalka remains on track to be commissioned by the end of 2017. This allows us to reiterate production guidance for 2017 at 2,0752.125 moz.
This progress has been achieved whilst maintaining our strict focus on operational efficiency. This included the implementation of a number of efficiency initiatives at our business units which helped ensure TCC remained below $400/oz despite the 17% local currency strengthening.
Adjusted EBITDA increased 10% from the 1H 2016 to $762 million. This enabled Polyus to further deleverage, with net debt/adjusted EBITDA declining from its peak of 2,5x back in June 2016 to the current 1,9x.
In line with the dividend policy the Board of Directors has recommended a dividend for 1H 2017 of approx.$229 million, or 30% of EBITDA.
Strength of Polyus’ investment case was recognised in June 2017 as we priced a Secondary Public Offering on the London Stock Exchange and the Moscow Exchange, raising $858 million. This represented a landmark transaction for Russian companies and the global gold industry, as the first listing of a Russian company on the LSE since 2014 and the largest public offering by a gold producer since 2010. Our unique profile of sustainable organic growth and attractive dividends enabled us to attract a broad range of international investors, including some of the largest names on the market.
Comparative financial results for the six months ended 30 June 2017
|$ mln (if not mentioned otherwise)||
|Gold production (koz)7||938||839||12%||488||455||7%||1.968|
|Gold sold (koz)||983||837||17%||496||437||14%||1.915|
|Average realised refined gold price (excluding effect of SPPP) ($/oz)8||1,239||1,223||1%||1,261||1,257||0%||1.250|
|Average realised refined gold price (including effect of SPPP) ($/oz)||1,263||1,277||(1%)||1,268||1,292||(2%)||1,287|
|Operating profit margin||53%||57%||(4) ppts||52%||56%||(4) ppts||55%|
|Profit for the period||603||499||21%||104||205||(49%)||1,445|
|Earnings per share — basic & (US Dollar)||4.85||3.22||51%||0.84||1.53||(45%)||10.09|
|Earnings per share — basic & diluted (US Dollar)||4.84||3.22||50%||0.83||1.53||(45%)||10.09|
|Adjusted net profit||475||405||17%||272||204||33%||952|
|Adjusted net profit margin||38%||37%||1 ppts||44%||36%||8 ppts||39%|
|Adjusted EBITDA margin||62%||64%||(2) ppts||61%||63%||(2) ppts||62%|
|Net cash inflow from operations||550||479||15%||268||188||43%||1,178|
|Total cash cost (TCC) per ounce sold ($/oz)||379||377||1%||379||395||(4%)||389|
|All-in sustaining cash cost (AISC) per ounce sold ($/oz)||610||555||10%||634||566||12%||572|
|Cash and cash equivalents and bank deposits||1,477||1.382||7%||1,477||1,382||7%||1,740|
|Net debt/adjusted EBITDA (x)||1.9||2.5||(24%)||1.9||2.5||(24%)||2.1|
In 1H 2017, capital expenditures rose to $322 million, from $186 million in 1H 2016. The increase reflects mainly the ongoing construction works at Natalka and brownfield development projects.
Natalka, the Group’s main development project, saw a 118% growth in capital expenditures in 1H 2017, to $179 million. Construction works at Natalka are progressing well with early pre-commissioning already well advanced. In June 2017, the total construction personnel headcount was approximately 840, including contractors and the Group’s employees. The primary crusher, the main SAG mill, and the main ball mill have completed a successful trial run. Polyus has finalised delivery of all processing equipment.
The installation of all gravity concentrators and electrowinning cells has been completed. The installation of thickeners is currently under way. The construction of power facilities and auxiliary infrastructure is ongoing. Major equipment vendors are on site to assist with the commissioning.
The Company anticipates the commissioning of the Natalka project to take place by the end of 2017, followed by a ramp-up period to achieve the project’s design parameters. Mining activity at Natalka was relaunched in January 2017 (the deposit was previously mined from 2013 through 2014).
Capital expenditures at Olimpiada increased to $52 million due to preparations to connect the mine to the new Razdolinskaya-Taiga grid, procurement of a mining fleet and the construction of Bio Oxidation circuit («BIO-4») at the Mills-1, 2, 3 complex. The BIO-4 project is expected to be launched by the end of 2017.
At Blagodatnoye, capital expenditures increased to $13 million, primarily due to optimisation works at the Blagodatnoye Mill following the completion of the processing capacity expansion project. In 2017, the Company will oversee technical works designed to ensure the Mill’s stable operation at the achieved throughput capacity level and to support an increase in recovery rates.
At Verninskoye, capital expenditures doubled to $12 million in 1H 2017. The increase refers to the expansion of the Verninskoye Mill.
Polyus is proceeding with the second stage of the Mill’s capacity expansion project. Site preparation is ongoing, procurement of the core process equipment has been contracted, construction of foundations for Carbon-in-Leach («CIL») reactor tanks have been completed, the tanks have been delivered in full scope and installation is ongoing. The target designed throughput capacity of 3,0 mtpa is expected to be achieved over three stages during 2017—2018.
Capital expenditures at Kuranakh increased to $22 million in 1H 2017 due to further progress with the heap leach project and the launch of the second stage of the Kuranakh Mill processing capacity expansion to 5,0 mtpa. The delivery and installation of the core heap leach equipment is ongoing, earthworks on the leaching pad are in progress.
At Alluvials, capital expenditures remained flat at $12 million compared to the prior-year period and predominantly consisted of exploration activity as well as the ongoing replacement of worn-out equipment.
Capex by mine10
|Other (including power projects)||25||30||(17%)||11||3||N.A.|
Group TCC remained largely flat, at $379 per ounce, despite local currency strengthening 17% compared to the same period last year. The latter was fully offset by strong operational results during the period, with a higher grade in ore processed at Olimpiada and increased hourly throughput at Blagodatnoye, Verninskoye and Kuranakh, as well as other initiatives to improve operational efficiency.TCC performance by mine, $/oz
|1H 2017||1H 2016||
TCC at Olimpiada declined to $376 per ounce, a 10% decrease from the prior-year period, in spite of rouble appreciation. This reduction was mainly attributable to higher average grades in ore processed (3,65 grams per tonne in 1H 2017 compared to 2,96 grams per tonne in 1H 2016), the cessation of higher cost Veduga ore processing and improved performances of Mill-1 and Mill-3.
At Blagodatnoye, TCC amounted to $302 per ounce, up 8% compared to the prior-year period, due to local currency appreciation. This was partially offset by an increase in Mill throughput capacity, processing of lower cost stockpiled ore, and lower maintenance expenses.
TCC at Verninskoye remained largely flat at $401 per ounce. This was supported by operational improvements, including a gradual increase in hourly throughput and recoveries following improvements at the flotation, sorption and cyanidation circuits.
At Kuranakh, TCC increased 18% compared to the prior-year period, to $574 per ounce, as a result of rouble strengthening. The negative impact of the annual electricity tariff indexation, a decline in average grades in ore processed as well as higher fuel and reagent costs were fully mitigated by improved hourly throughput level owing to increased productivity of the grinding equipment and reduction of the feed ore cost per tonne.
TCC at Alluvials increased to $666 per ounce, compared to $550 per ounce in 1H 2016, due to a decline in alluvial gold grade (0,53 grams per tonne in 1H 2017 compared to 0,65 grams per tonne in 1H 2016) and increased labour costs due to salary indexation.
In 1H 2017, the Group’s AISC per ounce increased to $610 per ounce, up 10% compared to the prior-year period. This growth was primarily driven by higher SG&A expenses and increased stripping expenses.
At individual mines, AISC trended in line with TCC per ounce performance at Olimpiada declining to $568 per ounce in 1H 2017. At Blagodatnoye AISC increased to $536 per ounce as a result of a planned increase in stripping activity (rock moved volumes rose 54% during the same period). Verninskoye posted a 25% increase in AISC from the prior-year period attributable to higher SG&A expenses and sustaining capital expenditure. At Kuranakh, AISC increased to $781 per ounce driven by both higher TCC and SG&A.All-in sustaining costs by mine, $/oz
|1H 2017||1H 2016||
Based on strong performance in 1H 2017, the Group reiterates its production guidance for 2017 to be in the range of 2,075—2.125 million ounces.
With the majority of brownfield development projects expected to be completed in 2017 and production at Natalka expected to be commissioned by the end of 2017, Polyus expects total gold output to increase further to 2,35—2.40 million ounces in 2018 and 2,8 million ounces in 2019.
Polyus will host a conference call for investors and analysts on 14 August 2017 at 14.00 (London) / 16.00 (Moscow) to present and discuss the financial results for the six months ended 30 June 2017.
To join the conference call, please dial:
+44 (0) 330 336 9105 (Local access)
0800 358 6377 (Toll free)
+1 719-325-2202 (Local access)
888-394-8218 (Toll free)
+7 495 213 1767 (Local access)
8 800 500 9283 (Toll free)
Conference ID: 7500556
A replay of the conference call will be available for 30 days post the release of this announcement:
+44 (0) 207 660 0134 (Local access)
0808 101 1153 (Toll free)
+1 719-457-0820 (Local access)
888-203-1112 (toll free)
8 800 2702 1012 (Toll free)
Victor Drozdov, Director Investor Relations
+7 (495) 641 33 77
Victoria Vasilyeva, Director Public Relations
+7 (495) 641 33 77
Forward looking statements
This announcement may contain «forward-looking statements» concerning Polyus and/or Polyus Group. Generally, the words «will», «may», «should», «could», «would», «can», «continue», «opportunity», «believes», «expects», «intends», «anticipates», «estimates» or similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include statements relating to future capital expenditures and business and management strategies and the expansion and growth of Polyus’ and/or Polyus Group’s operations. Many of these risks and uncertainties relate to factors that are beyond Polyus’ and/or Polyus Group’s ability to control or estimate precisely and therefore undue reliance should not be placed on such statements which speak only as at the date of this announcement. Polyus and/or any Polyus Company assumes no obligation in respect of, and does not intend to update, these forward-looking statements, except as required pursuant to applicable law.
1«Total cash costs per ounce sold» is defined by the Group as total cash costs divided by the ounces of gold sold during the period.
2«All-in-sustaining costs per ounce sold» is defined by the Group as costs related to sustaining production including TCC, SG&A expenses, sustaining CAPEX and other cash costs attributable to current sales divided by the ounces of gold sold during the period.
3Adjusted EBITDA is defined by the Group as profit for the period adjusted for income tax expense, depreciation and amortisation, gain/(loss) on derivative financial instruments and investments, finance cost, Long term incentive plan, foreign exchange gain, interest income, reversal of impairment, and special charitable contributions. The Group has made these adjustments in calculating Adjusted EBITDA to provide a clearer view of the performance of its underlying business operations and to generate a metric that it believes will give greater comparability over time with peers in its industry. The Group believes that Adjusted EBITDA is a meaningful indicator of its profitability and performance. This measure should not be considered as an alternative to profit for the period and operating cash flows based on IFRS, and should not necessarily be construed as a comprehensive indicator of the Group’s measure of profitability or liquidity.
4Adjusted Net Profit is defined by the Group as profit for the period adjusted for reversal of impairment, gain/(loss) on derivative financial instruments and investments, foreign exchange gain and deferred income tax related to derivatives.
5Capital expenditure figures are presented on an accrual basis (here presented net of the Sukhoi Log deposit license acquisition cost).
6Net debt is defined as short- and long-term debt, less cash and cash equivalents. Net debt excludes derivative financial instrument assets/liabilities, site restoration and environmental obligations, deferred tax, deferred revenue, deferred consideration for the Sukhoi Log licence and other non-current liabilities. Net debt should not be considered as an alternative to current and non-current loans and borrowings, and should not necessarily be construed as a comprehensive indicator of the Group’s overall of liquidity.
7Gold production is comprised of 877 thousand ounces of refined gold and 61 thousand ounces of gold in flotation concentrate.
8The Strategic Price Protection Programme comprises a series of zero-cost Asian gold collars («revenue stabiliser») and gold forward contracts (expired as of the end of 1H 2016).
9 Balance sheet data presented as of 30 June 2017, 30 June 2016 & 31 December 2016, respectively.
10The capex above presents the capital construction-in-progress unit as allocated to other business units, whilst in the condensed consolidated interim financial statements capital construction-in-progress is presented as a separate business unit.
11Presented net of the Sukhoi Log deposit license acquisition cost.