Whitehaven Coal has reported a record full-year underlying profit and a bumper shareholder payout on the back of strong prices for its high-grade thermal coal.
Australia’s biggest independent coal miner on Thursday said pre-tax profit before significant items, was $564.9 million compared with $524.5 million a year ago.
Whitehaven has been increasing its output of higher quality thermal coal to benefit from robust prices, partially offsetting a rise in costs and lower production of saleable coal in the year.
The company said it received an average of $100 a tonne for its higher-grade thermal coal, up from $98 per tonne a year earlier.
Whitehaven, however, flagged higher costs for the coming year.
The company expects unit costs to rise about 4.5 per cent to $70 per tonne in FY20.
The continued rise in costs will be due to higher diesel prices, increased washing to sell more higher quality coal and lower output from the company’s lower cost mines, Whitehaven said.
The company declared a final dividend of 13 cents per share and a special dividend of 17 Australian cents per share.
Whitehaven shares fell up to 4.9 per cent on Thursday amid a broad-based sell off.