FMG achieves costs below $20/t

FORTESCUE Metals Group has reasons to celebrate, achieving a 14% reduction in quarterly costs and beating its full-year iron ore shipping guidance.
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Fortescue Metals Group has cut costs and has beaten its full-year shipping guidance.

Kristie Batten

The company’s quarterly shipments rose by 5% to 42.4 million tonnes, taking its full-year shipments to 165.4Mt, in line with UBS estimates of 165.3Mt and above guidance of 160-165Mt.

C1 cash costs for the year were $US27 per wet metric tonne, in line with guidance of $26-27/wmt.

For the June quarter, costs dropped from $25.90/wmt to $22.16/wmt and fell further in June to $19/wmt.

Cash costs are down 35% over the same quarter of 2014, with the company realising cost savings of $8.60/wmt due to initiatives such as roster changes and the consolidation of contractors.

The company said the savings to date put it in a good position to achieve its 2016 financial year guidance of 165Mt at C1 costs of $18/wmt.

Total delivered costs were $31/wmt compared with $34 per dry metric tonne in the March quarter, with total costs of $28/wmt in the month of June.

“Fortescue has delivered excellent results on all three of our key performance measures for FY15: safety, production and costs,” FMG CEO Nev Power said.

“Our efficiency and productivity improvements have embedded sustained cost reductions across the business ensuring strong and consistent cash flows and the foundation for ongoing value generation.”

The company achieved price realisation of 89% of the Platts 62% index price, or $52/dmt.

The full-year average realised price was $57/dmt with a realisation of 85%.

FMG said its breakeven price remains at $39/dmt inclusive of interest and sustaining capital.

The iron ore spot price is sitting just above $50/t currently.

The company closed the quarter with $2.4 billion cash, up from $1.8 billion, while net debt was $7.2 billion.

Capital expenditure for FY15 was $626 million, below guidance, while sustaining capital expenditure for FY16 is expected to be $330 million, or $2/wmt, due to the completion of the T155 expansion.