• Low metals prices weigh on Nickel Asia’s income

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    Nickel Asia Corp., the country’s biggest nickel producer, on Tuesday said its net income dropped 72.3 percent last year on weak metals prices in the world market.

    In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the company said net income reached P3.044 billion in 2015, down 72.3 percent from P11.008 billion in 2014.

    The company reported higher volume of shipments, but total revenues dropped to P15.431 billion from P24.052 billion as the price of nickel, like most other metals, has plunged last year.

    The total volume of nickel ore sold from four operating mines reached 19.67 million wet metric tons (WMT) from 17.87 million WMT.

    Higher shipment volumes were mostly accounted for by an increase in direct ore exports, mainly to China – from 10.47 million WMT to 11.88 million WMT. Ore

    The company realized an average of $5.36 per pound on ore shipments. The average price was $7.69 per pound in 2014.

    In terms of export sales, the Nickel Asia achieved an average price of $22.64 per WMT from $45.10.

    While shipment volumes increased by 10 percent, total cash operating costs and expenses decreased from P9.26 billion to P8.98 billion, as a result of stringent cost cutting measures at the mine sites.

    Per WMT of ore sold, total cash costs and expenses decreased to $10.07 per WMT against $11.77 per WMT.

    “The year 2015 saw commodity prices falling to multi-year lows, mainly on the back of slower growth in China and a very strong US dollar,” said Gerard H. Brimo, Nickel Asia president and chief executive officer.

    “We see more challenges in the coming year. However, our dominant position as a low-cost producer will help the company ride-out the current down-cycle,” Brimo added.

    The company’s board of directors approved a cash dividend of P0.08 per common share payable on April 12, 2016 to shareholders on record as of March 31, 2016. James

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