Newcrest Mining (NCM) is Australia’s largest gold producer and one of the world’s top five gold mining companies by production, reserves, and market cap. NCM’s main operations are in Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and West Africa, and has a global workforce exceeding 19,000.
The company has a portfolio of predominantly low-cost, long-life operating mines, although it also has a history of operations troubles at its key projects (both operational and developmental).
NCM’s 1H13 results were disappointing on several fronts. Gold production for the half was 953,000 ounces, down 18% on prior corresponding half.
Cash costs increased 8% on same period in FY12. The poor production results led to revenue falling 28% and underlying profit plummeted 48%.
Late last month, the group downgraded its full year production – its fifth downgrade in the last two years. Gold production was lowered from 2.3 to 2.5 million ounces of gold to 2.0 to 2.15 million ounces.
The company cited operational issues at Lihir and Gosowong as the reason for the downgrade. While the downgrade was not a massive shock given the poor 1H results, it is yet more evidence of management inability to forecasts its own production.
While the groups poor results have contributed to recent share price weakness, it correlation to the gold price has also contributed.
The above shows the gold price (white line) and NCM share price (yellow line) over the last nine month.
As is shown, the fall in the gold price has dragged on NCM’s share price. With fears of monetary easing-induced hyperinflation are abating, other asset classes such as equities are offering relatively stronger returns.
NCM’s 1H13 results showed the effects of both poor production and a falling gold price.
Disappointingly, the group last month downgraded its full year guidance. This downgrade was already from what we would consider low-end guidance and while not a complete surprise it does not leave us with much faith its management’s ability to forecast its own production.
With the flight to stronger returning asset classes likely to continue in the near-term, we see continued weakness for the gold price and as a by-product NCM’s share price.
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