London: India-focused mining group Vedanta posted record first-quarter core earnings, driven by continued strength in metals prices and higher zinc production.
The London-listed firm said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased 33% to $1.055 billion in the three months to the end of June. Sales jumped 44% to $3.4 billion.
First-quarter output of refined zinc, Vedanta’s most profitable product, rose 17% to 193,000 tonnes on higher volumes from the Dariba zinc smelter commissioned in March 2010.
Subsidiary Hindustan Zinc has already reported first-quarter results marginally above expectations, with zinc output up 17% and a 70% jump in its bottom line.
Production of iron ore, hit by a ban on shipments from the Indian state of Karnataka and the discontinuation of mining operations at Orissa, dropped 23% to 4.4 million tonnes.
Vedanta unit Sesa Goa , India’s largest iron ore exporter, said last week that net profit was down 36% in the quarter after a 12% drop in iron ore sales.
Zambian copper cathode output fell 9% on limited availability of the appropriate blend of copper concentrate.
Vedanta has said it plans to list a stake in its Zambian unit, Konkola Copper Mines, but the ambition to cash in on avid demand for assets in the Zambian copperbelt has been on ice since late last year, given market volatility and uncertainty over valuations.
Last month the Indian government granted Vedanta a long-awaited approval to buy a stake in British oil group Cairn Energy’s Indian business. The sale has been delayed for almost a year due to a disagreement over royalty payments.