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Fresnillo halves dividend as inflation hit profit

Precious metals miner Fresnillo (LON: FRES) has cut its annual dividend by half, as 2022 results were hit by metal price volatility and costs inflation.

The company, the world’s top silver producer and Mexico’s largest gold miner, declared a final dividend of 13.3 cents per share, bringing the annual total to 16.7 cents, down 51% from 33.9 cents a year prior.

The miner’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization amounted to $751.1 million, a 38% decrease from the $1.21 billion it fetched in 2021.

Silver production jumped by 1.2% to 53.7 million ounces, when compared with 2021 output, Fresnillo said.

Gold production went the opposite direction, falling by 15% over the same period to 636,000 onces, yet in line with the company’s guidance.

Total revenue decreased by 10% to $2.43 billion, and pretax profit fell 59% to $248.6 million.

Production costs rose 15% to $1.45 billion from $1.26 billion in 2021, and the company expects costs to continue rising in the year ahead as a consequence of inflation.

“Our financial results were impacted by industry pressures including volatile precious metal prices and higher cost inflation,” chief executive Octavio Alvídrez said.

“While our workforce continued to feel the impact of the pandemic and caused delays to our development program, and more specific to Mexico, the labour reform which limited the use of contractors requiring us to train new employees,” he noted.

The company said its mines were now all “fully staffed or close to it”, even in a “hot labour market”. 

More difficult was the wait for power hook-ups at two of the miner’s expansion projects, which kicked them into this year.

One, the new Juanicipio mine, is now in operation, but the new plant at the Fresnillo mine has not yet begun operations.

Fresnillo, which operates seven mines in Mexico, expects attributable silver production for 2023 to be in the range of 57 million to 64 million ounces, including silverstream, so up by 6.1% to 19%.

Gold production is expected to reach between 590,000 ounces and 640,000 ounces this year.

Source: MINING.COM – Read More