Chinese demand drives sales for Vale

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 July, 2011, 12:00am

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Brazilian miner Vale, the world's biggest iron-ore producer, announced record sales and a 74.1 per cent increase in net earnings in the second quarter of this year, thanks to strong demand from China.

The Rio de Janeiro-based company posted net earnings of US$6.45 billion or US$1.22 per share, up from US$3.71 billion or 70 cents a year ago. The figure was only slightly lower than its record quarterly profit of US$6.83 billion in the first quarter.

However, the result missed market forecasts, which expected profit to reach US$1.39 per share on an adjusted basis, according to the average of 13 estimates by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

The firm proposed an additional US$3 billion dividend to shareholders. Vale's chief financial officer Guilherme Cavalcanti said the dividend payout was 'a consequence to cash surplus' after taking account into its capital expenditures.

'We don't have big M&A [merger and acquisition] on the radar at the moment. This gives us the comfort to deliver the money to our shareholders,' he said.

The company said it expected global industrial production to resume higher growth thus contributing to a stronger demand for minerals and metals, while the strong fundamentals for their markets remain intact for the medium and long term.

The company said its operating revenue for the second quarter jumped 55 per cent year-on-year to a quarterly record of US$15.35 billion.

It also posted record sales of bulk materials, including iron ore, pellets, manganese and thermal coal, of US$11.68 billion, 22.7 per cent higher than in the first quarter.

China, as Vale's largest customer, purchased about 42 per cent of the company's iron-ore shipments, up from 41.4 per cent in the first quarter. Nearly one-third of Vale's operating revenue was from China, up from 29.7 per cent in the last quarter.

'Asia's demand will continue to be high,' Cavalcanti added. 'We expect China demand of iron ore continue to be strong.'