Brazil-based global mining company Vale has released details of its Q3 2013 financial results and claims ‘across the board’ improvements.
Operating revenues for the quarter were US$12.9 billion; operating income was US$4.8 billion, operating margin was 37.7% and adjusted EBITDA was US$5.9 billion. With underlying earnings totalling US$3.7 billion, Vale claims increases were achieved from quarter -on-quarter and year-on-year.
The main drivers of Vale’s positive results were the expected recovery in iron ore and pellet shipments at 83.6Mt (the third largest in the company’s history) and higher prices. The cash cost of iron ore fell to US$22.10/metric tonne down from US$24.15 for Q2 2013.
Vale also claims that a cost-cutting exercise was also behind its latest results, explaining how the company has been taking steps ‘to build a lean organisation, minimising operating costs and expenses as well as investment costs and focusing on productivity growth’.
During the first three quarters of 2013 Vale saved US$2 billion. Operating costs were reduced by US$1.1 billion (6.7%) while sales, general and administrative expenses were reduced by US$621 million (41.6%). The company also managed to slash research and development expenditure by US$479 million (47.1%) and claims that these reductions have been ‘clearly a key factor in the improvement of our performance this year’.
Adjusted EBITDA for the first nine months of 2013 totalled US$16 billion, 8.8% higher on a year-on-year basis and when put together with Vale’s cost-cutting activities offset the company’s US$828 million decline in gross revenues, which were caused by lower prices.
Excluding acquisitions, Vale reduced investments by US$11 billion for the first nine months of 2013, down US$1.2 billion on the previous year.
Vale recently signed an agreement to sell 35.9% of its logistics company VLI for US$2.7 billion and is looking to sell a further 26%, reducing its own stake to just 26%.
Expansion of the Carajás Railway – which will transport iron ore produced by the Carajás mining complex in Brazil’s Para state – and the addition of a 40Mt/yr dry ore processing plant (designed to reduce operating costs and increase productivity) are both part of projects designed to expand the company’s logistics and increase iron ore production capacity.