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Who said King Coal was dead? New Hope investors get $250m payout as prices boom

Business

Coal producer New Hope is set to pay out $250 million to shareholders after it posted a $330 million profit for the six months to January, a huge turnaround on the $55 million loss for the same period in 2021.

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The company said it was experiencing “significant cash build” in line with the booming demand for thermal coal which has pushed prices into record territory.

Shareholders would receive an interim dividend of 17 cents a share along with a special dividend of 13 cents a share. Shares in New Hope jumped 9 per cent when the market opened.

The company now has total liquidity of almost $1 billion, including $420 million in an undrawn syndicated facility and cash and equivalents of $513 million.

Its average sale price for the six months was $192 a tonne, a 147 per cent increase over the same period in 2021.

Chief executive Rob Bishop said strong demand and lower than normal stock levels held by customers have pushed thermal coal prices above the long term average.

New Hope did not provide an outlook but analysts have predicted prices for thermal coal would remain high for most of this year.

Bishop said the company’s forward sales book would “support robust returns”.

“The company is experiencing significant cash build following the remarkable recovery in coal prices since the lows of 2020. With the near-term coal price outlook remaining strong, coupled with a generous franking account balance the company is rewarding shareholders with larger, fully-franked dividends for this reporting period,” Bishop said.

The long-running saga of the Acland mine, where the company had been seeking approvals for an expansion, could be coming to an end.

Late last year the Land Court recommended the stage three mining lease and environmental authority amendment application be granted subject to conditions.

New Hope said it was working with the State Government to progress the applications.

 

 

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