Whitehaven coal has announced its first half FY2015 financial results, which showed that its operating earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) for the period was $52.1 million, slightly down from the $55.0 million recorded for the previous corresponding half.
According to the company’s ASX Announcement, the key achievement in the half was the commencement of mining and railing coal from the Maules Creek project three months ahead of schedule, which will ensure that Whitehaven is well placed to deliver on plans to become Australia’s leading independent coal company.
Commenting on the results, Whitehaven Coal Managing Director Mr Paul Flynn said he was delighted that the company has achieved a wide range of very positive financial, strategic and operational outcomes during the half in spite of a lacklustre coal market.
“Importantly we have been able to commence production at our Maules Creek project three months ahead of schedule. The early start was a reflection of the high quality team responsible for overseeing the construction of project. Maules Creek will be transformational for Whitehaven as it will double production of the high quality sought after Gunnedah basin coals produced by Whitehaven,” Mr Flynn said.
He said that over 40 trains had been railed from Maules since railings began in December.
“Whitehaven has been able to maintain its EBITDA margin in a period of falling prices by improving the efficiency of each of its operations and continuing with sustainable cost cutting at all of its mines. The 6% reduction in costs from the previous half and 11% reduction from the previous corresponding half was pleasing and shows our leadership teams are making a difference,” stated Mr Flynn.
“The combination of record half production and sales and a six week longwall changeout highlights the strong operating performance of Narabri and provides confidence that the mine can achieve its full year production target.”
He said the fundamentals of the business were continuing to improve with new low cost production established at Maules Creek and more upside potential identified at Narrabri. According to him, those two tier one assets will underpin Whitehaven for many years into the future.
“Whitehaven is progressing the refinancing of its debt facilities and expects to be able to complete the activity in the current half,” Mr Flynn said.
“While not ignoring the current weakness in coal markets, we remain confident that coal has a growing role to play in the world’s future energy requirements and that the high quality coals produced by Whitehaven will be in strong demand from Whitehaven’s key Asian markets for many years into the future.”