Saudi Arabia's largest mining company, Maaden, seeks to complete the first global acquisition of Africa’s Meridian Fertilizer Group. The process is expected to be completed during the third quarter of 2019.
Maaden revealed that this step is significant in its strategy to build global distribution channels of fertilizers.
Separately, Maaden reported its financial results for the second quarter of 2019. The company recorded a net loss of SAR590 million (USD157.5 million) compared to a profit of SAR630 million (USD168 million) in Q2 2018.
The report added that the loss is mainly attributed to decreasing commodity prices, which affected the year-on-year profit by SAR481 million (USD128.2 million), and one-time costs associated with the restructuring of its Maaden Rolling Company (MRC) business which amounted to SAR159 million (USD42.3 million).
The company’s profitability was also affected by higher input costs, operating expenses including fixed costs, general and administrative costs, selling and marketing, and finance costs, caused by the full recognition of the operating costs of Maaden, Waad al Shamal Phosphate Company (MWSPC) and Maaden Rolling Company (MRC), which commenced commercial operations in December 2018.
Despite losses incurred in Q2 2019, revenue increased by 26 percent, reaching SAR4.3 billion (USD1.1 billion) compared to SAR3.4 billion (USD906 million) in Q2 2018. The increase in revenue resulted primarily from an increase in sales volume of ammonium phosphate fertilizer and aluminum flat-rolled products, as MWSPC and MRC reached full commercial operations.
Cash generated from operations was SAR545 million (USD145.3 million) in Q2 2019, up by 25 percent when compared to the previous quarter.
Maaden reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of SAR1.3 billion (USD346.6 million), a decrease of 29 percent compared to the same quarter last year.
Among the factors influencing the financial data: an increase in power costs for its aluminum smelter due to the recognition of the full power cost of the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) power plant, which supplies the smelter.
Commenting on the results, Maaden President and CEO Darren Davis said: “The second quarter of 2019 showed further weakness in our core commodities, phosphate, and aluminum, with prices continuing downward trends since 2018, although gold prices remained strong.”
“Aluminum prices remain under pressure as a result of continued uncertainty over the global trading environment, however, the transaction to restructure our MRC business is proceeding as planned and will ensure the long-term sustainability of the business,” he continued.
“Phosphate fertilizers weakened due to higher exports from China. Our MWSPC project made further good progress in the second quarter in ramping up operations and across the business, production in most of our units reached record highs. Whilst market challenges are likely to continue, production will reach record levels in 2019 and we have renewed our focus on operational excellence,” Davis continued.