Ground Breakers: Some late, breaking dividends for FY23 and a week from hell for Andrew Forrest
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Greenday sang Wake Me Up When September Ends, which is how finance reporters feel about August, when the big boys of the ASX load up and blast their financial results at us like Homer Simpson copping a cannonball to the gut.
It’s now September (in case you haven’t already flipped your hot fireman calendar over to the first model of spring) but we have some late, breaking dividends for you, offered by the sort of companies who release their results post-market like a thief in the night.
Unlike those thieves these aftermarket hoodlums are being slightly more generous.
Terracom (ASX:TER) has been through the wringer, at the centre of claims ALS fudged coal tests, which it and key figures say they did not pressure the lab runner into.
In the meantime the run in coal prices last year turned the owner of the Blair Athol mine in Queensland into a major money spinner for long suffering holders.
The $400 million capped coal producer is up 6.3% today after releasing its financial results late on Thursday.
They come with a 3c per share dividend attached on the back of a 5% lift in NPAT to $262 million.
The payout follows dividends issued in November, February and May totalling 23.5c for the full year, around 72% of NPAT and a bonkers yield of 50%.
“Our company is in good shape. High thermal coal prices, responsible cost management and strong demand for our coal throughout the year resulted in record earnings and superior capital returns for shareholders,” MD Danny McCarthy said.
Coal prices tumbled from over US$400/t to around US$130/t earlier this year as European demand plummeted, but they have staged a comeback to very profitable levels of US$158.50/t today for front month Newcastle 6000kcal prices.
Prices for the energy fuel typically rise alongside gas because coal plants are cheaper to run. Concerns about gas supply have risen with industrial action potentially on the horizon next week at Chevron’s Gorgon and Wheatstone plants.
Also reporting results late yesterday was $1.4 billion capped Emerald Resources (ASX:EMR). The owner of the Okvau gold mine in Cambodia, one of the world’s lowest cost gold operations, was up ~2% this morning after announcing a 46% lift in after tax profit to $66.28m.
No dividend here, but Emerald is forecasting another solid year in FY24 after producing 108,866oz in FY23 at US$799/oz, with over 100,000oz projected at US$780-850/oz this financial year.
Less than a week ago Andrew Forrest partied it up with hundreds of special guests including Eddie Maguire and former UK Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng — of Crash the Pound fame — at his iron ore giant’s 20th birthday celebrations in the Pilbara.
Then CEO Fiona Hick resigned on the eve of Fortescue’s (ASX:FMG) financial results after six months in the hot seat, swiftly replaced by COO Dino Otranto.
It couldn’t get more tumultuous right? It could. Gabon, where FMG plans to develop a new high grade iron ore mine called Belinga, fell to a military coup after decades of largely autocratic rule by the Bongo family.
Then late on Thursday it announced the sudden departure of CFO Christine Morris. Replaced by group manager for finance and tax Apple Paget, she’d been in the role for only a few months after the exit of long-serving number cruncher Stephen Wells in early 2023.
Guy Debelle, the ex-Reserve Bank deputy governor, who left his short-lived post as CFO of green energy arm Fortescue Future Industries last year, also stepped off the FFI board after a stint as a non-executive director.
His plan is to take up a role at battery minerals minnow Tivan (ASX:TVN) and invest $25,000 of his own cash into the junior at 7.2c, well above its current share price, similar to the commitment made by other directors in July. The company has surged 19.3% on the news.
Previously known as TNG, Tivan is currently trying to progress the undeveloped Speewah vanadium-titanium-iron project in WA’s Kimberley, a far cry from the multi-billion dollar profits and near-on 200Mt of annual iron ore production pumped out by Fortescue.
Twiggy and separated wife Nicola’s ~36% holding in Fortescue is down, as it is with minor shareholders, 4.39% this morning.
But it remains flat for the week owing to a mini-run in iron ore prices on the back of Chinese mortgage relief policies, which the market hopes will stimulate investment in real estate and improve flagging steel demand.