Whitehaven won’t alter dividend policy despite setbacks

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 16 : 26-Oct-20

Whitehaven Coal’s lenders recently agreed to relax its debt covenants after the company sought relief due to a severe downturn in coal prices. However, a condition of that relaxation will constrain the company’s ability to pay dividends until its debt levels fall below certain thresholds. Whitehaven had paid out a record final dividend of $298 million in August 2019, and chairman Mark Vaile says he has no regrets about the payment. He says the company may need to be a bit more conservative about capital management in the future, while he notes that the 2019 payout followed two successive years of record profits.

CORPORATES
WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED – ASX WHC

New Hope cuts jobs, dividend after loss

Original article by Perry Williams
The Australian – Page: 16 : 23-Sep-20

Coal producer New Hope Corporation has posted a net loss of $156.7m for the year to 31 July, following a $210.4m profit for the previous financial year. The latest result was marred by writedowns totalling $346m, including a $110.7m impairment charge against its New Acland thermal coal mine. New Hope has also retrenched 175 workers at the New Acland mine, whose proposed expansion is subject to a legal challenge from environmentalists. A total of 23 jobs have also been cut at its head office and Brisbane coal terminal, while shareholders will not receive a final dividend.

CORPORATES
NEW HOPE CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX NHC

Labor hardhead urges Premier to approve coalmine

Original article by Michael McKenna
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 13-Jul-20

Labor senator Anthony Chisholm has urged the Queensland government to approve the $900 million expansion of the New Acland coal mine, despite a legal challenge before the High Court. Labor’s former state secretary was considered the architect of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s election win in 2015. Chisholm notes that the government has been "cautious" in its handling of the New Acland approval, opting to wait until all legal issues have been resolved . However, he contends that circumstances have changed, and that jobs will be lost if approval for the extension is not granted.

CORPORATES
NEW HOPE CORPORATION LIMITED – ASX NHC, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

Price collapse burying 31pc of coal mines

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 14 & 16 : 11-May-20

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a sharp fall in demand from major thermal coal buyers such as Japan and India. This has in turn seen the price of top quality coal from New South Wales and Queensland falling by 27 per cent and 30 per cent respectively. Rory Simington of Wood Mackenzie estimates that about 31 per cent of Australia’s thermal coal exports are unprofitable at current prices. He adds that a significant proportion of Australia’s coal output is sold via long-term contracts. However, the recent price falls will eventually flow through to future contracts.

CORPORATES
WOOD MACKENZIE

Coal vital to post-virus boost: minister

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 10 : 6-May-20

Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt has stressed the importance of resources projects to the Australian economy as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. He has urged banks to continue to support coal projects, as a growing number of lenders move to reduce their exposure to the sector. Pitt has also emphasised the need to address the issue of ‘green lawfare’, which resulted in Adani’s Carmichael coal project being subject to multiple legal challenges.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF INDUSTRY, SCIENCE, ENERGY AND RESOURCES, ADANI MINING PTY LTD

Coal, alumina prices look sick on virus effects

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 28-Apr-20

The prices of Australia’s key commodity exports have retreated in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The price of premium hard coking coal was recently trading at $US122.8 per tonne, compared with $US210 per tonne in early May 2019. Likewise, the price of premium thermal coal shipped through the port of Newcastle has fallen to $US56 per tonne, down from more than $US120 per tonne in mid-2018. The alumina price has in turn fallen to $US226 per tonne, compared with more than $US600 per tonne in 2018. Increased supply from China after the nation’s lockdown restrictions were eased has contributed to the price weakness.

CORPORATES

Whitehaven puts off Vickery mine decision

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 16 : 17-Apr-20

Whitehaven Coal has advised that its production fell by 15 per cent year-on-year in the March quarter, to 4.1 million tonnes of saleable coal. Whitehaven’s managed coal sales fell 22 per cent to 4.5 million tonnes, and the group now expects its managed coal sales for the full year to be within the range of 17.5-18.5 million tonnes. Whitehaven has also indicated that challenging market conditions means that a final investment decision on its Vickery project will not be made until at least 2021. It had previously expected a decision to be made by the end of June.

CORPORATES
WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED – ASX WHC

Stanmore called on to pay out dividend

Original article by Nick Evans
The Australian – Page: 16 : 15-Apr-20

Golden Investments has lifted its stake in Australian-listed Stanmore Coal to 51 per cent since launching a new takeover bid earlier in April. Stanmore has advised shareholders to take no action pending a recommendation from its board; however, Sandon Capital analyst Campbell Morgan expects the bid to succeed and argues that Stanmore should pay a special dividend of $0.28 per share to use its remaining franking credits. Golden Investments previously made a takeover bid for Stanmore in 2019.

CORPORATES
STANMORE COAL LIMITED – ASX SMR, GOLDEN INVESTMENTS (AUSTRALIA) PTE LTD, SANDON CAPITAL PTY LTD

Coal exports rise as foreign rivals hit pause

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 & 22 : 3-Apr-20

Port Waratah Coal Services has advised that export volumes at its coal terminals rose slightly in the March quarter, compared with the same period in 2019. CEO Hennie du Plooy notes that coal demand and production remained strong during the period, despite the coronavirus pandemic. However, he notes that the virus lockdown has placed a number of constraints on the company, including the need to ensure that contact between employees is minimised during shift changeovers.

CORPORATES
PORT WARATAH COAL SERVICES LIMITED

Whitehaven Coal profit slumps 91pc

Original article by Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: Online : 21-Feb-20

Whitehaven Coal has reported a 2019-20 half-year net profit of $27.4 million, which is 91 per cent lower than previously. Despite the decline, it still managed to declare a dividend, although shareholders will only receive a payment of $0.015 per share, compared to the $0.20 per share they received for the previous corresponding period. Falling thermal coal prices were the biggest contributor to Whitehaven’s profit decline, while its coal production was down by 31 per cent.

CORPORATES
WHITEHAVEN COAL LIMITED – ASX WHC