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Orica reports profit turnaround

International mine explosives heavyweight Orica says it expects a further market-volume and technology led earnings boost in FY20 after turning its FY18 A$48 million loss into a $245 million net profit in FY19 and bumping up its annual dividend payout nearly 7% to 55c-a-share.
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Staff reporter

The ASX-listed company (ORI) saw revenue growth across all its regions and divisions in the 12 months to the end of September this year, compared with the previous year. "Volumes are growing and our market-leading technology solutions are gaining traction with customers. Our growth drivers are starting to deliver," managing director Alberto Calderon said.

Orica said it "anticipates higher earnings in FY20 underpinned by increased demand and product mix across all regions and the further take-up of our market-leading technology" but didn't provide guidance.

The company's underlying earnings per share came in 14% higher year-on-year at 97.9c/share in FY19.

"Our FY19 financial result provides evidence of the continuing uplift in our operating and financial performance. Orica's manufacturing and cost performance is improving across the board," Calderon said.

"All of our regions are performing strongly with Europe, Middle East & Africa reporting a particularly pleasing result in FY19 following focused efforts to improve this business. Increased penetration of our technology-based blasting solutions and contract wins have driven sales revenue 9% higher for the period.

"The increase in Australia Pacific & Asia volumes was led by 6% growth in Australia, with market share in the region continuing to increase.

"Consistent with our previous updates, progress on rectification at Burrup continues in line with our plan, and the plant is expected to make a positive contribution to earnings from the second half of FY20.

"We are particularly pleased with the ongoing strong performance of our GroundProbe business which continues to deliver results ahead of expectations. We anticipate this exceptional business will deliver 20% return on net assets (RONA) over the next three years. After several years of management focus the Minova business has also delivered a signficantly improved result in this period."

FY19 revenues totalled A$5.88 billion (US$4.06 billion) versus $5.37 billion ($3.71 billion) in FY18.

Orica's share price was 1.8% today at A$23.40, near its 12-month high. The shares are up 38% year-to-date, capitalising the company at about A$8.83 billion.