Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Solid Energy faces more losses on coal prices

Solid Energy faces more losses as global coal prices stays capped

By Paul McBeth

March 6 (BusinessDesk) - Solid Energy, the state-owned coal miner, faces more losses as it contends with muted coal prices on a global market that’s been flooded with product from the US and Australia amid dwindling demand from the likes of China.

Acting chief executive Garry Diack told reporters in Wellington the state-owned enterprise will take between 12 months and 18 months before it gets close to a breakeven result as it overhauls the business after ambitious growth plans failed under the previous leadership team.

“With the restructuring we’ve done, we’re running basically plus or minus on the cash breakeven business, if we can sustain that, which I believe we can for the next 12 to 18 months, I think we’ll be okay,” Diack said. “The business has a future. It’s highly volatile. It’s exposed to the international coking coal market which has gone up and down consistently over 10 to 15 years. If that volatility continues to run, it’s a challenge for the business.”

Solid Energy appeared before Parliament’s commerce select committee today for its annual review, led by deputy chair Pip Dunphy, who was standing in as interim chair for Mark Ford, who stepped down last week for health reasons.

Last week the SOE reported a net loss of $40.9 million in the six months ended Dec. 31, down from a loss of $318.2 million when it wore impairment charges of some $222.7 million, saying weak coal prices were still weighing on the business.

Solid Energy head of marketing and strategy Bill Luff told the committee the coking coal market, which is the SOE’s biggest export exposure, has strong prospects with growing capacity in India and the chance of a new steelmaking business in Vietnam coming on as a customer.

“If you take all the noise out of the short term, the coking coal price should be somewhere about US$200 (per tonne) by 2021. That’s in today’s dollar,” Luff said. “We believe there is some firmness. Right at the moment the dynamics are that there are excess volume coming out of Australia, excess volume coming out of the US and demand is quite weak, particularly in China.”

The company expects little or no upward movement in coal prices in the next 12 to 18 months, before oversupply is removed from the system and prices rise to US$200 a tonne over the next five or six years, Luff said. The monthly average price in the six months ended Dec. 31 was US$135/tonne.

Last week, Solid Energy said it hadn’t drawn down on either of two $50 million working capital facilities made available by the government as part of last year’s restructuring package to reduce the miner’s bank debt.

Diack told reporters today the company doesn’t anticipate drawing down on them at this stage and would prefer to avoid doing so.

“If the current coal price at spot level converts into contracted payment at that level the chances are we will need to draw on some form of them,” he said. The global coal price would have to rise back to about US$150/tonne for the company to avoid drawing on the facilities.

Interim chair Dunphy told the committee the company is under intense monitoring from both the government and its bankers, and that “the tolerance around any variation to our forecasts is very small.”

(BusinessDesk)


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On Tiwai Point (And Saying “No” In Greece)

Its hard to see how Rio Tinto’s one month delay in announcing its intentions about the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter is a good sign for (a) the jobs of the workers affected or (b) for the New Zealand taxpayer. More>>

ALSO:

Half Empty: Dairy Product Prices Extend Slide To Six-Year Low

Dairy product prices continued their slide, paced by whole milk power, in the latest GlobalDairyTrade auction, weakening to the lowest level in six years. More>>

ALSO:

Copper Broadband: Regulator Set To Keep Chorus Pricing Largely Unchanged

The Commerce Commission looks likely to settle on a price close to its original decision on what telecommunications network operator Chorus can charge its customers, though it probably won’t backdate any update. More>>

ALSO:

Lower Levy For Safer Cars: ACC Backtracks On Safety Assessments

Dog and Lemon: “The ACC has based the entire levy system on a set of badly flawed data from Monash University. This Monash data is riddled with errors and false assumptions; that’s the real reason for the multiple mistakes in setting ACC levies.” More>>

ALSO:

Fast Track: TPP Negotiations Set To Accelerate, Groser Says

Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership will accelerate in July, with New Zealand officials working to stitch up a deal by the month's end, according to Trade Minister Tim Groser. More>>

ALSO:

Floods: Initial Assessment Of Economic Impact

Authorities around the region have compiled an initial impact assessment for the Ministry of Civil Defence, putting the estimated cost of flood recovery at around $120 million... this early estimate includes social, built, and economic costs to business, but doesn’t include costs to the rural sector. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news