Mining industry to become key supply segment for Penrice: CEO
The mining industry is set to become the second-largest supply segment for soda ash manufacturer Penrice Soda Holdings Limited following a series of contracts won by the company in recent months, according to Managing Director and CEO, Guy Roberts.Mr Roberts made the forecast when announcing increased earnings and dividend for the December half year and a buoyant outlook for the remainder of the financial year. The positive full-year outlook follows a series of new soda ash supply contracts secured by Penrice to the mining industry during the December half, including the Windimmura Vanadium, Compass Resources and Goro Nickel projects in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and New Caledonia respectively.“The emergence of the mining industry as a sales source for the company’s expanding soda ash production was a significant upside for the company during the past half year and going forward,” Mr. Roberts said. “Penrice soda ash is keenly sought as a high quality, cost effective process aid in mineral processing at a variety of mine sites.“These new mining contracts are an important diversification from our traditional glass industry base which still commands the bulk of our soda ash sales,” he said.“However, while soda ash sales to the mining industry currently account for a relatively small proportion of our overall soda ash sales volume, they will eventually become our second-largest supply segment.”Penrice has announced a 5.5 cents per share interim dividend, an increase of 10% on the corresponding period last year, after achieving a $2.7 million profit in the six months ended 31 December 2007 compared with $2.3 million in the previous corresponding period.“This improved result - together with recently negotiated new soda ash contracts and increased margins from existing contracts - has Penrice well placed for growth in the second half of this financial year, and more particularly in 2008/09 and beyond,” the company’s Chairman, John Heard, said. “Given the solid first half result and the expected earnings uplift in our soda ash and minerals businesses, the Board is confident of Penrice achieving higher full-year earnings than last year, in the absence of unforeseen circumstances,” Mr Heard said.