SYDNEY (Reuters) - Stronger coal and manganese prices lifted half-year underlying earnings from continuing operations at Australia’s South32 (S32.AX) 18-fold to $479 million (384.37 million pounds) from a year earlier, beating market expectations.
“The disciplined application of our strategy and stronger commodity prices underpinned a significant improvement in financial performance,” Chief Executive Graham Kerr said in a statement.
South32’s share price has more than doubled over the past year, aided by the timely acquisition of a metallurgical coal mine in Australia from Peabody Energy BTUUQ.PK.
The miner also enjoyed surging manganese and metallurgical coal prices - up 300 percent and 200 percent respectively in 2016 - but prices are now in decline.
So far this year, manganese is down 41 percent from its 2016 peak, while metallurgical coal is off 47 percent.
Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Richard Pullin