Whitehaven CEO Paul Flynn said the result represents the culmination of a growth strategy that had been in place for a number of years.
“Firstly, the development of the Narrabri underground mine set the company on a growth path,” he said.
“This was followed by the development of the Maules Creek open cut mine which added significant production to the portfolio.
“At the same time, the successful reduction in costs across the entire Whitehaven business and recent higher coal prices have enabled the company to generate this great result.”
Run-of-mine coal production for the half year of 8.4 million tonnes was 2% higher than the previous corresponding period while sales of coal including at 9.2Mt was 18% higher.
Free-on-board costs of $60/t were consistent with guidance for the half year.
Interim net profit after tax rose by 63% to $257.2 million, a record for the company.
Higher coal prices boosted cash generated from operations to $409.7 million for the half, an increase of 55% on the previous corresponding half.
Flynn said the company continues to draw strong interest from potential new customers throughout Asia.
“Many are seeking Whitehaven’s high quality coal for their power stations and steel mills – either planned, under-construction or newly built,” he said.
FY2018 guidance for saleable coal production was revised to the range of 20.5Mt to 21Mt following reduced production from the Narrabri mine during the first half.
Costs for the year are likely to increase slightly as modestly higher costs at Narrabri are factored into the result.