Orica boosts earnings

Company News

by Glenn Dyer

Shareholders in Orica (ASX:ORI), the world's biggest explosives group, will get a tiny lift in their interim dividends after the company boosted earnings off the back of lower costs.

Orica reported a 10 percent increase in earnings due to lower input costs, beating analyst estimates, and will pay shareholders 19 cents a share - up from 18 cents, as a reward.

The company told the ASX on Thursday that lower input costs saw sales revenue drop 8.5 percent to $3.7 billion in the six months to March but helped provide a 105 lift to earnings before interest and tax to $353 million.

“We have delivered another strong performance for the first half of 2024 with a 10 percent growth in underlying earnings from the previous corresponding period,” Orica CEO Sanjeev Gandhi said in Thursday’s release.

“Our team remains committed to executing our strategy and has delivered improved performance and growth across all segments with an ongoing focus on the quality of earnings.

“Our core blasting business continued to strengthen this half, supported by strong customer demand as well as increased earnings from high-margin premium products and technology.”

Orica’s completed acquisition of the end-to-end sensor-to-data delivery platform Terra Insights in February and technological solutions provider Cyanco in April were two big deals for the company and its future directions.

“The Terra Insights acquisition was completed on February 29, 2024,” Gandhi said.

“This acquisition has established Orica as the global leader in geotechnical and structural monitoring in mining and civil infrastructure with a unique portfolio of six industry-leading brands. The integration of Terra Insights into Orica Digital Solutions is on track with a key focus on delivering cross-selling opportunities.

“On April 30, 2024, we finalized the completion of our Cyanco acquisition. With the addition of Cyanco, Orica has now become the leading integrated global sodium cyanide producer and supplier, with access to the attractive and high-margin North American gold market,” he said.

Looking to the rest of 2024, the company was upbeat, saying "EBIT for FY2024 from underlying business before contributions from Terra Insights and Cyanco is expected to be higher than the prior year and slightly better than our expectation at FY2023 results due to:

Stronger first-half performance despite the heavy planned plant maintenance schedule; Strong demand for our products and services across the mining and civil value chains in 2H24 and continued strong adoption of our blasting and digital technology offerings.

Terra is not expected to make much of a contribution, but Orica said Cyanco’s EBITDA contribution is expected to be in the range of $40 million to $45 million (from May 1).

But the company warned that it still faced ongoing challenges from inflationary pressures, higher energy costs, supply chain disruptions, and geopolitical risks.

Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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