Currently viewing Global edition

Cleveland-Cliffs' strategic vision 'working very well'

US iron-ore miner Cleveland-Cliffs has reported strong December quarter and annual financial results, which helped spur a 8.5% stockprice gain in New York on Friday.
Cleveland-Cliffs' strategic vision 'working very well' Cleveland-Cliffs' strategic vision 'working very well' Cleveland-Cliffs' strategic vision 'working very well' Cleveland-Cliffs' strategic vision 'working very well' Cleveland-Cliffs' strategic vision 'working very well'

Cleveland-Cliffs expects to gain premium prices for its pelletised iron ore products

For the full-year 2018, the Cleveland, Ohio-based company reported net income of US$1.1 billion compared with net income of $363 million in the prior year. For the fourth quarter of 2018, Cliffs recorded net income of $610 million compared with net income of $310 million in the prior-year quarter.

The full-year net profit was earned on 21% higher year-on-year consolidated revenues of $2.3 billion, compared to the prior year's revenues of $1.9 billion. Fourth-quarter consolidated revenues were $696 million compared with prior-year fourth-quarter revenues of $512 million.

For the full year, the cost of goods sold and operating expenses totalled $1.5 billion, compared to $1.4 billion reported in 2017. For the last fiscal quarter the figure came in at $494 million versus the $396 million reported for the same period a year earlier.

"With over $1.1 billion in net income and a 67% increase in EBITDA year-over-year, we are proud to confirm that our strategic vision for the company has been fully implemented and is working very well," CEO Lourenco Goncalves said Friday. Since taking the reins of Cleveland-Cliffs in August 2014 following a successful proxy contest, he subsequently became the mining industry's top paid executive, taking home US$23.78 million in 2017.

"Transformations of this magnitude are complex and can only be accomplished with a complete buy-in from all employees, managers, executives and directors. Our results confirm what we have accomplished here at Cleveland-Cliffs."

Goncalves said the company's status as a supplier of environmentally friendly pellets and hot briquetted iron made Cliffs and the US "the models that other companies and other countries should follow".

"In 2019, we will make these points abundantly clear and fully understood by the American people," he said.

Cleveland-Cliffs' mining and pelletising business segment reported fourth-quarter pellet sales of 6.5 million tonnes, a 21% year-on-year increase because of healthier customer demand and two new customer contracts. However, bad weather in the Great Lakes region impacted fourth-quarter shipments during October and November.

For 2019, Cliffs expects full-year sales and production volumes of about 20Mt. Cliffs' full-year 2019 mining and pelletising cash cost of goods sold and operating expense expectation is $62-$67/t.

"2019 will be an even more exciting year for us. Our mining and pelletising business will be once again sold out, and we look to produce yet another year of great results selling world class pellets at industry-high margins," Goncalves said on a conference call.

Iron ore prices have been rallying following January's fatal tailings dam breach in Brazil at Vale's Córrego do Feijão mine and Vale's subsequent force majeure on some of its iron ore contracts after a court-ordered halt to a mine responsible for nearly 9% of its output. Iron ore with 62% iron content CFR China has gained nearly 16% in the past month to $88.16/t on Friday.

Cleveland-Cliffs (NYSE:CLF) has gained 50% year-to-date in New York, taking it 74% higher in the past year. During this period the stock peaked at $13.10, but on Friday settled 8.53% higher at $11.83, capitalising the company at $3.53 billion.