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South32 share price higher on half year production update

James Mickleboro
Mining shares

The South32 Ltd (ASX: S32) share price is pushing higher in morning trade following the release of its second quarter and half year update.

The diversified metals and mining company’s shares are up 1% to $2.89 at the time of writing.

How did South32 perform in the first half?

According to the release, South32 had a reasonably positive first half to FY 2020.

During the period the company reported production growth for alumina, aluminium, silver, lead, and zinc.

Alumina production was arguably the highlight of the half, growing 4% on the prior corresponding period. This was driven by record year to date production at the Brazil Alumina operation and higher rates of calciner availability at Worsley Alumina.

Conversely, the company’s manganese production was a lowlight during the half. Manganese ore production fell 3% on the prior corresponding period and manganese alloy production dropped 17%. South32 reduced its production in response to lower manganese prices in the December quarter.

It was a similar story for its coal operations, with both metallurgical and energy coal production falling. This was driven by reduced activity at South Africa Energy Coal in response to market conditions. In response to this, management has revised its full year coal guidance to the lower of its range.

Management commentary.

South32’s CEO, Graham Kerr, was pleased with the company’s first half.

He said: “We continued our strong start to the year, delivering record year to date production at Brazil Alumina and maintaining production guidance across the majority of our operations. We have acted decisively during the quarter in response to market conditions, reducing contractor activity at South Africa Energy Coal and higher cost trucking at our South Africa Manganese business.”

“Our disciplined approach to capital allocation has enabled us to maintain our strong financial position and return a further US$331 million in the December 2019 half year with the continuation of our on-market share buy-back and payment of our ordinary dividend in respect of the prior six month,” he added.

The CEO also noted that South32 has reshaped its portfolio during the half and appears confident this has positioned it well for the future.

The post South32 share price higher on half year production update appeared first on Motley Fool Australia.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

The Motley Fool's purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool's free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson. 2020