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Whitehaven Coal tumbles as profit drops, dividend misses consensus

15th February 2024

By: Reuters

  

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Australia's Whitehaven Coal reported an 86% drop in first-half profit on Thursday and announced an interim dividend that missed market consensus, sending its shares more than 7% lower.

Shares of the country's biggest independent coal miner fell as much as 7.3% to A$6.960, as of 01:03 GMT, and were on track for their worst session since August 31.

Whitehaven posted a net profit after tax attributable of A$257.6-million for the half year ended December 2023, sharply lower than A$1.78-billion in the year-earlier period, as coal prices eased from record levels hit last year.

The company said it achieved an average coal price of A$220/t in the first half of the 2024 financial year, compared with A$552/ta year earlier.

The coal producer announced an interim dividend of 7 Australian cents per share, down from 32 cents a year earlier, and missing a Visible Alpha consensus of 12.3 cents.

"A slightly weaker dividend on the lower reported net profit means a marginally soft resulting in our view," analysts from Jefferies said in a note.

"In the first half of FY24, high-CV (calorific value) thermal coal prices moderated but remained resilient, as energy security is a priority for power utilities globally," said Paul Flynn, Whitehaven CEO and MD.

Whitehaven agreed terms for a five-year credit facility of $1.1-billion to finance the acquisition of Daunia and Blackwater mines, which is expected to be completed in early April.

The coal producer expects a previously announced share buyback will remain paused.

Edited by Reuters

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