Newcrest posts $2.2B loss

DESPITE an improved operating performance, impairments on the Lihir mine and other assets have resulted in a $A2.2 billion full-year loss for Newcrest Mining.
Newcrest posts $2.2B loss Newcrest posts $2.2B loss Newcrest posts $2.2B loss Newcrest posts $2.2B loss Newcrest posts $2.2B loss

The company posted a $5.7 billion loss for the 2013 financial year after write-downs.

As previously flagged, the company posted $2.35 billion of asset impairments on Lihir and Hidden Valley in Papua New Guinea, Telfer in Western Australia and Bonikro in Ivory Coast.

The underlying profit was $432 million, down from $446 million last year due to a lower gold price.

Free cash flow was $133 million, compared to net outflow of $1.4 billion for FY13.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were $1.5 billion and EBIT was $821 million.

Newcrest CEO Sandeep Biswas, who only took over in the top job last month, said a 14% jump in gold production and a 24% reduction in all-in sustaining costs showed the progress made in FY14 but he signalled there was more to be done.

"These initial improvements enabled the company to maintain its underlying profit and profit margins notwithstanding a lower gold price and deliver free cash flow of $133 million for the year," he said.

"Asset value impairments of $2.4 billion after tax were the major drivers of a statutory loss for the year of $2.2 billion.

"The most significant component of the write-downs related to Lihir.

"While we have realised some initial operating improvements, I am not satisfied with either the current operating performance or the cash generation of the business."

Biswas said the company would be focused on realising the potential of its assets and he was expected to give more detail on analyst and media teleconferences to be held later today.

"A company-wide improvement program has been initiated, which includes a major review at Lihir," he said.

"We expect group production this year to be similar to that in financial year 2014 as we ramp up Cadia East and make improvements at Lihir, which will lay the foundations for future production growth."

Guidance for FY15 has been set at 2.2-2.4 million ounces of gold at total AISC of $2.3-2.6 billion.

Capital expenditure is expected to be $660-740 million and exploration expenditure is set to be $60-70 million.

At the end of June, Newcrest had cash and undrawn debt facilities of $1.8 billion.

Newcrest shares were trading 1.2% lower at $11.06.

Gearing was 33.8% and the company said it was comfortable with that level in the short to medium term.

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