BRISBANE, Australia, Aug. 27, 2018 /CNW/ -- Orocobre Limited (ASX: ORE,TSX: ORL)("Orocobre" or "the Company") today released financial results for the year ended 30 June 2018 (FY18).
Orocobre Group results:
Statutory net profit of US$1.9 million, record underlying full year net profit after tax from continuing operations of US$25.7 million1,2 (FY17: US$13.8 million)
Orocobre established as low cost brine producer delivering record margins
Fully funded multiple growth options at Olaroz Stage 2 and Naraha Lithium Hydroxide both approaching final investment decision (FID), and longer term potential development at Cauchari JV
A$361 million funding completed, including a 15% placement to Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC) valued at A$282 million
Strong balance sheet with available cash at 30 June 2018 of US$316.7 million
Olaroz Lithium Facility, Argentina (ORE share 66.5%) – Results FY18
Total production of 12,470 tonnes of lithium carbonate, up 5% on FY17
Total sales revenue of US$148.9 million, up 24% from US$120.1 million in FY17
Sales of 11,837 tonnes of lithium carbonate at an average price received of US$12,578/tonne on an FOB basis
FY18 EBITDAIX up 33% year on year to US$94.6 million
Reinforced position as one of the lowest cost producers with gross operating margins of 67% (US$8,384/tonne) with lithium production costs at US$4,194/tonne, excluding royalties and head office
FY19 production expected to be higher than FY18
FY19 price received to date of approximately US$14,000 per tonne
Orocobre Managing Director and CEO, Richard Seville said: "In 2018, Orocobre demonstrated significant progress in operational performance especially improvements in pond management. These improvements came at a fortuitous time, with contract lithium chemical prices rising throughout the year. Management of costs, along with strong prices resulted in record gross cash margins for our products and fueled a 33% increase in our operating cashflow from Olaroz.
"We still had our challenges during the year with inclement weather affecting our annual production and we are taking these experiences into account with our design of Stage 2 with increased pond areas, the potential use of crystalliser/evaporators and other measures.
"We have already completed construction of the first ponds for Stage 2 which are now being used in Stage 1 operations and these will help to stabilise our production throughout such weather cycles.
"Global market fundamentals for lithium have recently been questioned with decreases in Chinese spot market prices. While short term price volatility is to be expected, it is important to note that the Chinese spot market is only a small part of the overall global market. Additionally, long term fundamentals remain intact with ongoing, and increasing support from government, regulators and consumers for the move to electrification of transport and installation of electrical storage systems.
"Orocobre is particularly well positioned to meet this long-term increase in demand with current and future expansions (Stage 3 and beyond). From a strong financial footing, Orocobre is fully funded to develop Stage 2 at Olaroz with lithium carbonate production increasing to 42,500 tonnes per annum. We are also preparing to construct a 10,000 tonne per annum lithium hydroxide plant with strategic partner Toyota Tsusho Corporation. The FID process for both projects is expected to be finalised shortly.
"Furthermore, the lithium carbonate we bring to market should be produced at the very bottom of the global cost curve, placing us in a position that will always withstand short term price volatility and deliver optimal returns for shareholders," said Mr. Seville.
Orocobre's 'Borax Argentina SA', a long-established Argentine boron (or borate) minerals and refined chemicals producer saw a slight improvement in trading conditions in FY18 and better operating performance. However, to comply with International Financial Reporting Standards an impairment was booked with the carrying value of Borax Argentina's Plant and Equipment written down to nil. For the year ended 30 June 2018, this resulted in a total impairment charge amounting to US$8 million.
Environmental, Social and Community
Orocobre is committed to sustainable and responsible development and has already implemented programs that have been in operation for a number of years. During FY18 we released our inaugural Sustainability Report which provided information on key sustainability metrics and other measures including our contribution to society; our relationship with the environment and management of natural resources; our responsiveness to our customers; and the development, support and safety of our people, suppliers, and communities.
Orocobre Limited (Orocobre) is a dynamic global lithium carbonate supplier and an established producer of boron. Orocobre is dual listed on the Australia and Toronto Stock Exchanges (ASX: ORE), (TSE: ORL). Orocobre's operations include its Olaroz Lithium Facility in Northern Argentina, Borax Argentina, an established Argentine boron minerals and refined chemicals producer and a 33.5% interest in Advantage Lithium.