New Hope doubles profits as coal stays hot

Company News

by Glenn Dyer

New Hope Corporation (ASX:NHC), part of the Milner family’s Washington H Soul Pattinson investment group, confirmed the coal price boom extended to the end of January this year with a massive surge in interim revenue, earnings and payout to shareholders.

The company on Tuesday revealed a 103% increase in net after tax profit of $669 million for the six months to January

The massive profit boost was driven by a 54% year on year surge in revenue, which to $1.58 billion as the company rode coal prices boosted by the price gains from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine 13 months ago.

Shareholders got rewarded with a full franked interim dividend of 30 cents per share (unchanged from a year ago), plus a 10 cents per share special payout.

With that impetus, shares were up more than 8% to $5.32.

Underlying EBITDA of $1.038.5 billion, was up 87.3% from the $554.4 million in the previous half year.

The company reported closing cash of $971.2 million up from $715.7 million at July 31, 2022.

New Hope said it produced 3.2 million tonnes of saleable coal for the January 31 half year, down, 1.2 million tonnes to the comparative period.

“The Bengalla Mine (in the NSW Hunter Valley) experienced localised flooding that caused disruption to site operations and across the Hunter Valley logistics chain. The disruptive weather was experienced across most Hunter Valley operations. This further highlighted the demand and supply imbalance within the seaborne coal market.”

The company said its average sales price achieved for the period was $A467.40 a tonne, up 143% compared to the January 2022 realised price of $A192.40 a tonne.

Looking ahead New Hope said global thermal coal demand was outstripping supply, pointing to Southeast Asia as an expected growth market.

It noted that “All major coal suppliers face considerable constraints, placing increased value on already permitted, low-cost operations.”

The company added that the NSW government has granted the company its Bengalla Exploration Licence, which “should provide further long-term growth opportunity”.

New Hope said it has the “ability to almost double current production levels over the next three years through organic growth,” confident directors said in Tuesday’s statement.

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