Fortescue beats profit forecasts, but dividend payout weighs on the share price

Fortescue Chairman Andrew Forrest. (William West / Getty Images)

Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) has reported a 44% fall in net profit to $US681 million for the half-year ended December 2017.

The result still beat analyst’s expectations as Fortescue navigated price pressures in the second half of last year on its lower-grade iron ore exports.

However, the company’s announcement of an 11-cent interim dividend missed forecasts of a 14-cent payout, and FMG’s share price dipped by around 4% at the open.

Here’s a summary of Fortescue’s key financial data compared to the same time last year:

Today’s half-year numbers are the first set of results under new CEO Elizabeth Gaines, with FMG’s leader for the past eight years, Nev Power, retiring earlier this month.

The company’s profit result was partly reflective of a relentless focus on costs, after Fortescue’s top-line revenue fell by 18% from the same time last year.

FMG also announced the completion of a $US1.4 syndicated loan facility, financed by banks from China, Australia and Europe.

The funds will be used to redeem part of an existing $US2 billion debt facility, which has an interest rate of 9.75% and expires in 2022.

Fortescue said the new arrangement will lower annual borrowing costs by around $US80 million.

“This financing transaction builds and broadens Fortescue’s highly valued relationships with China,” said Fortescue’s chief financial officer Ian Wells.

“It represents another milestone in the execution of our capital management strategy, increases capital flexibility and further lowers Fortescue’s cost of capital.”

Source: Fortescue

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