London: Indian-focused mining group Vedanta posted a forecast-beating 187% surge in annual earnings per share on a rebound in metals prices and stronger output, and was confident about economic recovery.
“The recovery in demand and commodity prices appears well-founded and the medium and long-term outlook for our commodities remains strong,” chairman Anil Agarwal said on Thursday.
The London-listed group said basic EPS for the fiscal year to end-March rose to 219.6 cents, well above a consensus forecast of 186 cents, according to a poll of 14 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company, which proposed a 10% rise in its final dividend to 27.5 cents, said it had a strong balance sheet with over $7.2 billion in liquidity, allowing it to press forward with growth projects.
Production Capacity to Rise
“We have achieved significant milestones during the year and are on track to deliver a substantial increase in production capacity across our businesses in 2011,” Agarwal said, referring to the current fiscal year.
Last month, Vedanta posted record production of iron ore and aluminium in its fourth quarter. Annual production of iron ore gained 34%, aluminium climbed 15.4% and refined zinc was up 4.7%.
Profits have been boosted by a rebound in metals prices as demand returns after sharp falls during the downturn. The price of zinc, one of Vedanta’s most profitable products, gained 80% during Vedanta’s fiscal year.
Vedanta said it would continue to buy back shares after spending $549 million in doing so during the year and would also seek to increase stakes in key subsidiaries.
Unit Sterlite Industries is one of several entities holding minority stakes in Vedanta, prompting complaints from investors about the group’s complex structure.
Last week Sterlite surprised the market with a bonus share issue and stock split after quarterly profit more than doubled.
A year ago, Vedanta said it hoped to buy up the 49% stake held by the government in unit Bharat Aluminium (Balco) within six months.