Northern Star Rides Gold Revival

Gold miner Northern Star Resources (NST) has lifted final dividend by 33% after a 60% boost to full year earnings as it rode the gold price revival very nicely in 2015-16.

Northern Star yesterday declared a final dividend of 4c a share, which boosted the full-year payout to 7c a share, fully-franked, a 2c rise on 2014-15.

The company told the ASX yesterday that it had record earnings for the full year, aided by lower costs and an uplift in prices late in the fiscal year.

Net profit jumped 65% to $151.4 million, with revenue up 8% to $887.4 million.

The numbers came despite a slight dip in product sold to 561,153 ounces, although this number was at the upper end of its guidance range.

Northern Star said its costs had been driven lower through the year, falling to $A1,041 an ounce as against $A1,065 the prior year.

This came alongside a lift in the realised gold price from $A1,453 an ounce to $A1,578 an ounce. The group is also on track for a strong start to fiscal 2017 as the precious metal’s current spot price is $A1,760 an ounce.

Northern Star is debt free with cash and equivalents of $326 million, up from $A178 million a year earlier.

“We have met or exceeded all our key objectives,” Northern Star managing director Bill Beament said in yesterday’s statement. “The strong operational performance, including further cost reductions, underpinned a record profit.

“Most importantly, we achieved this significant growth in profit, cash holdings and the dividend while generating a 39 per cent return on equity and a return on invested capital of 28%. This is one of the highest rates of return of any ASX-listed company and is the key barometer of a company’s performance,” he said.

Northern Star shares almost tripled over the past year, but dropped sharply by nearly 20% in the last couple of week. The shares were up 1.8% un early trading but eased to closed unchanged on the day at $4.73.

Northern Star has a portfolio of low-cost, high-grade underground gold mines located in Western Australia and Northern Territory.

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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