Kenmare Resources deliver a record year with revenues up 87% and EBITDA up 182%

Kenmare Resources plc

Kenmare Resources plc (LON:KMR, ISE:KMR), one of the leading global producers of titanium minerals and zircon, which operates the Moma Titanium Minerals Mine in northern Mozambique, today announced its preliminary results for the twelve months to 31st December 2021.

Statement from Michael Carvill, Kenmare Resources Managing Director:

“2021 was a record year for Kenmare on all fronts. Our financial results were driven by record production volumes and higher average prices received for our products, with revenues up 87% and EBITDA up 182%. Following our lowest ever Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate in 2021, we have continued to achieve new safety milestones, passing eight million hours without a Lost Time Injury in early March 2022. Production in Q1 2022 has been impacted by poor weather conditions but we remain on track to achieve our 2022 guidance.

We are pleased to be publishing our first Climate Strategy Report in the coming weeks, along with our second Sustainability Report. In addition to setting a short-term carbon reduction target, the Board has also approved our ambition to be Net Zero by 2040.

The positive momentum we saw in all our product markets in 2021 has continued into 2022. Global demand for ilmenite, our primary product, continues to exceed supply and our production volumes are being well received by the market.

In light of this continuing market strength and our record performance, the Board is recommending a 2021 dividend of USc32.71 per share, up from USc10.00 per share in 2020. This is in line with our 2021 dividend target payout of 25% of profit after tax and follows the $81.6 million share buy-back we completed in December as part of our strategy to deliver compelling shareholder returns.”

2021 overview

Financial

  • Recommended 2021 dividend of $32.1 million or USc32.71 per share (2020: USc10.00), up 227% on 2020, comprising an interim dividend of USc7.29 per share (paid in October 2021) and a final dividend of USc25.42 per share (expected to be paid in June 2022)
  • 87% increase in revenue to $455.9 million in 2021 (2020: $243.7 million), driven by record shipments and a 21% increase in the average price received for Kenmare’s products
  • 20% increase in total cash operating costs to $189.7 million (2020: $158.0 million) as a result of a 46% increase in finished product production, plus increased costs relating to repairs and maintenance, Heavy Mineral Concentrate (“HMC”) haulage from the Pilivili operations, and COVID-19 management
  • 18% decrease in cash operating costs per tonne to $154 per tonne (2020: $188 per tonne), benefitting from increased product volumes. 26% decrease in net ilmenite unit costs to $93 per tonne (2020: $125 per tonne), due to increased ilmenite production and higher co-product revenues
  • 182% increase in EBITDA to $216.1 million (2020: $76.7 million), due to increased production, stronger product pricing and lower unit costs, representing a 51% EBITDA margin (2020: 33%)
  • 669% increase in profit after tax to $128.5 million (2020: $16.7 million) due to higher EBITDA, partially offset by increased depreciation charges
  • Net debt position of $82.8 million at year-end 2021, compared to $64.0 million at year-end 2020, following the completion of the $81.6 million share buy-back

Operational

  • Record annual HMC production of 1,555,900 tonnes, representing a 30% increase compared to 2020 (1,201,100 tonnes), benefitting from increased tonnes mined and higher ore grades
  • 48% increase in ilmenite production to 1,119,400 tonnes (2020: 756,000 tonnes) benefitting from increased HMC processed
  • 51% increase in shipments of finished products to 1,285,300 tonnes (2020: 853,100 tonnes), reflecting increased production and benefitting from improved transshipment capacity
  • Commissioning commenced of Rotary Uninterruptible Power Supply (“RUPS”), which is expected to deliver benefits in terms of power stability, operating cost reductions, and lower carbon emissions through reduced usage of diesel generators
  • Kenmare is on track to achieve 2022 guidance, although production in Q1 2022 is expected to be below the anticipated annual run rate due to poor weather conditions during the quarter

Dividend timetable

The Company confirms the dates for the 2021 final dividend are as follows:

Ex-dividend date28 April 2022
Record date29 April 2022
Currency election date4 May 2022 at noon
AGM date for shareholder approval26 May 2022
Payment date1 June 2022

Irish Dividend Withholding Tax (25%) must be deducted from dividends paid by the Company, unless a shareholder is entitled to an exemption and has submitted a properly completed exemption form to the Company’s Registrar.

Analyst and investor briefing and conference call

Kenmare will host a briefing and a conference call for analysts, institutional investors, and media today at 9:00am UK time. The briefing will be held at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS, UK and participant dial-in numbers for the conference call are as follows (a pin code is not required to access the call):

UK:+442086103526
Ireland:+35315822030
US+12407892714 

The webcast will be available at www.kenmareresources.com and playback of the webcast will be available at: www.kenmareresources.com/investors/reports-and-presentations.

CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT

Dear shareholders,

2021 was the first full year of operations at the high grade Pilivili ore zone, in addition to our original Namalope area. Significant increases in production and shipments were achieved, while our product markets exhibited strong demand throughout the year. As a result, revenue increased by 87% to $455.9 million, and profit after tax by 669% to $128.5 million, vindicating our strategy of investing in additional production capacity in anticipation of a tight market.

As we began 2021, while we had largely completed the last of our three growth projects, operational effectiveness continued to be impacted by COVID-19. Our vaccination, testing, and quarantine protocols mitigated the worst effects of the virus, however, and we also achieved a truly outstanding safety performance. Nevertheless, we remain vigilant as the pandemic continues to evolve. The health and safety of our colleagues and host communities remain our highest priorities.

Shareholder returns

Kenmare committed to increase shareholder returns after the completion of the major capital projects executed during 2018-2020. Accordingly, we have recommended a dividend payout of 25% of profit after tax for 2021, higher than the 20% minimum policy. Subject to shareholder approval, our 2021 full year dividend will be USc32.71, an increase of 227% compared to 2020.

Despite robust operational and financial performance, our share price during 2021 did not fully reflect Kenmare’s intrinsic value, and the Board concluded that a share buy-back was therefore a prudent use of capital. A share buy-back was completed in December 2021, returning $81.6 million to eligible shareholders while reducing the number of shares in issue by 13.5%.

I am pleased that Kenmare has been able to return almost $100 million in aggregate to shareholders during 2021, through dividends and the share buy-back, whilst also maintaining a robust balance sheet.

At the 2022 Annual General Meeting (“AGM”) Kenmare will ask shareholders to approve resolutions to implement an Odd-lot Offer at some point during the next 18 months. This will enable the Company to purchase, at a 5% premium, the shares held by eligible certificated shareholders who hold fewer than 200 shares in the Company. This will help small shareholders who would otherwise have difficulty selling their holdings due to disproportionate trading costs. Further details of the Odd-lot Offer scheme will be included in the Notice of AGM to be distributed to shareholders in due course.

Outlook and strategy

In 2021 we benefitted from strong product markets for all our products and this positive momentum has continued into 2022. Our increased production has been well absorbed by our markets and demand for Kenmare ilmenite remains strong. However, the tragic conflict in Ukraine has created significant uncertainties in global trade routes and the wider economy. It is too soon to speculate on the overall effects on our business, but Ukraine is a significant supplier of titanium feedstocks, while lower global growth could reduce demand for our products.  

In 2025, Wet Concentrator Plant (“WCP”) A will move to the Nataka ore zone. Field tests of mining methods and planning studies are making good progress and a Pre-Feasibility Study for the move is expected to be completed later in 2022. This will include details of the mining method, relocation, provision of water and power, an HMC pumping system, and plans for tailings disposal.

Our overall strategy is to operate responsibly to deliver long-life low-cost production, allocating capital efficiently, including towards developing accretive growth opportunities. The Kenmare team is committed to achieving these strategic goals, while also becoming a first quartile producer on the industry revenue to cost curve. Achievement of these long-term strategic goals will support further increases in free cash flow and higher dividends, as well as improving resilience in case of potential cyclical commodity market downturns.

Sustainability

Kenmare has always placed sustainability at the heart of its business practices, working responsibly to achieve ambitious environment, social, and governance goals. In 2021, we published our inaugural Sustainability Report, which set out guiding principles, together with some examples of our approach to responsible environmental management, and constructive community and other stakeholder relations. We will publish our second Sustainability Report in the coming weeks, including commentary on our performance against public sustainability targets for the first time.

The Board has ratified an inaugural Climate Policy and we will shortly publish our first Climate Strategy Report, aligned with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (“TCFD”).

During 2021 we launched a Portuguese version of our corporate website to ensure all information is easily accessible for Mozambicans. For the second consecutive year, we were pleased to be named as the most transparent extractive industry company in Mozambique by the Centre for Public Integrity’s Extractive Industry Transparency Index.

Board development

In 2021, an external performance evaluation of the Board and all of its Committees was conducted by Board Excellence, in accordance with the provisions of the 2018 UK Corporate Governance Code. I am pleased to report that the evaluation concluded that Kenmare’s Board operates efficiently, “with a deep commitment to do the right thing and excel on behalf of shareholders, employees and stakeholders.” A summary of outcomes and actions from the evaluation will be published in our 2021 Annual Report.

A number of important changes in the composition of the Board took place during the year, and further changes will occur in 2022 when I plan to retire, after nine years on Kenmare’s Board, almost eight of them as Chairman.

Gabriel Smith, Tim Keating, and Peter Bacchus stepped down and I would like to thank them sincerely for their important contributions to Kenmare’s success in recent years. Graham Martin has assumed the role of Senior Independent Director following Peter’s departure.

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In March 2021, we were pleased to welcome Sameer Oundhakar to replace Tim as the representative Director of our largest shareholder, African Acquisition S.à.r.l., an investment vehicle owned by the Oman Investment Authority.

In October 2021, we announced that Mette Dobel had agreed to join the Board as an independent Non-Executive Director effective 1 January 2022. Her significant leadership experience both as a senior executive and director of FLSmidth A/S, at the cutting edge of mining technology and automation, will be invaluable as we strive to achieve further operational efficiencies and build a positive social and environmental legacy.

In December 2021, Andrew Webb joined the Board as an independent Non-Executive Director and Chair Designate. Andrew brings extensive natural resources and financial advisory experience, having previously served as a Managing Director at Rothschild & Co in the Global Advisory team, where he worked for 25 years. I have enjoyed working with him through the transition period and am confident that Andrew’s skills and enormous mining industry and finance experience position him well to play a key role in driving the future success of the business.

I plan to step down following the 2022 AGM and Andrew will become Chairman. I look forward with confidence to Andrew and the rest of the Board taking Kenmare to even higher levels of achievement in future years

After these changes, the composition of the Board will provide a strong and diverse mix of talents, skills and experience, well suited to the business and challenges ahead, while achieving our gender diversity target with female Directors representing one third of the Board.

Acknowledgements

I would like to end my final statement as Chairman by thanking all of Kenmare’s key stakeholders for their support and commitment to the Company and the Board, not only during the unprecedented challenges we have all experienced during the past two years of COVID-19 disruption, but also throughout my nine-year tenure. I look back on the Company’s achievements with a sense of pride and I am pleased to be leaving Kenmare in the strongest position in its history.

It has been a privilege to work with my fellow Board members, and particularly Michael Carvill who founded the company and has led it selflessly and courageously for more than 20 years. Kenmare has an outstanding management team and a remarkable workforce. I feel privileged to have worked with such a talented group and I will follow the Company’s continued progress with keen interest.

With capacity to deliver 1.2 million tonnes per annum (“Mtpa”) of ilmenite on a sustainable basis, buoyant product markets, and a first class team, I am confident that Kenmare will continue to generate value for all stakeholders in 2022 and beyond.

Steven McTiernan
Chairman

MANAGING DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

Kenmare delivered a record year for safety, production, and shipments in 2021. The Company demonstrated its resilience and agility, protecting our employees and host communities against a second year of heightened risk due to COVID-19. I would like to thank all our team for their hard work and dedication, particularly during H1 2021 when we faced huge challenges as a result of the virus.

Our record operational performance in 2021 was supported by strong market conditions for all our products. We increased production of ilmenite, our main product, by almost 50% compared to 2020 and this was well received by the product market, with quarter-on-quarter price increases. This enabled us to generate EBITDA of $216.1 million, up 182% on 2020, and gave us the confidence to return almost $100 million to shareholders during the year, increasing our 2021 dividend payout to 25% of profit after tax, above the 20% minimum policy, and completing a share buy-back of 13.5% of our issued share capital.

We are targeting production of 1.2 Mtpa of ilmenite, plus co-products, on a sustainable basis and reduced unit costs. We remain focused on delivering strong free cash flow and shareholder returns, while continuing to raise the standards to which we hold ourselves in terms of environment, social, and governance performance. We believe we are achieving our purpose of responsibly meeting global demand for quality-of-life minerals.

Safety

It is testimony to our strong safety culture that Kenmare reported its best ever safety performance in 2021. This achievement is particularly significant given the additional pressure put on our mining operations by COVID-19, which had the potential to increase safety risks.

We delivered our lowest ever Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate of 0.03 per 200,000 hours worked for the 12 months to 31 December 2021, which also represented more than six million hours worked without a Lost Time Injury (“LTI”) and an 88% reduction compared to 2020. Our Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (“TRIFR”) relative to the 2020 International Council on Mining and Metals TRIFR was in the top quintile. On 6 January 2022 we achieved one year without a LTI and we are working hard to maintain this record performance. We also retained our five-star NOSA safety accreditation for the sixth consecutive year.

Sustainability

Our commitment to working responsibly is enshrined in Kenmare’s purpose and we are particularly focused on protecting our employees and our host communities in Mozambique. In mid-2021 we began vaccinating our workforce against COVID-19 and by the end of the year, 96% had been double vaccinated. We also donated 12,000 vaccines to local communities.

Through the Kenmare Moma Development Association (“KMAD”), we completed the construction of a new health centre for the communities living near our Pilivili operations and constructed seven school blocks in the Namalope and Pilivili areas. By the end of the year, over 1,000 farmers were registered in our Conservation Agriculture programme to improve crop yields and 75 small businesses were benefitting from KMAD support.

We recognise the role and responsibility all businesses must take in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and as such, in December 2021, the Board approved Kenmare’s Climate Policy. We will publish our first Climate Strategy Report in the coming weeks, which follows recommendations made by the TCFD. We have an ambition of becoming Net Zero (Scope 1 and 2) by 2040, with a short-term carbon emissions reduction target of 12% by 2024, contingent on receiving a reliable power supply from the Mozambican state power provider, Electricidade de Moçambique.

In early 2021 we approved the development of a RUPS. It is expected to deliver increased power stability for the Mineral Separation Plant, an important risk mitigation measure, and is anticipated to be the main contributor towards our reduced emissions through lower diesel consumption. At an estimated cost of $18 million, the RUPS is a Net Present Value positive project, using conservative assumptions, and commissioning commenced in Q1 2022.

We also continued to invest in our people. The Moma workforce received 21,100 hours of training during the year as we believe that providing continuous development opportunities is key to attracting and retaining the best people and maintaining our strong safety culture. At the end of 2021, we had 1,551 employees at the Moma Mine and over 97% of them were Mozambican, with 70% from the local district or province. 12.5% of our Moma employees were women, compared with 10.6% in 2020, reflecting our successful initiatives to encourage women to join and remain in our workforce.

Operational performance

2021 was a record year for production and the first time we have produced more than one million tonnes of ilmenite. Total production of finished products was up 46% compared to 2020, driven by the higher ore grades mined in Pilivili by WCP B following its relocation in Q3 2020. We achieved Moma’s nameplate capacity of 1.2 Mtpa ilmenite production in Q3 2021, which set a new quarterly production record, and demonstrated our ability to produce at our targeted rate. We are now focused on achieving this run rate on a consistent basis. 2021 was also a record year for shipments, which were up 51% compared to 2020.

We achieved this compelling performance despite the impact of COVID-19 on our operations, particularly in H1 2021. Ilmenite production was below the midpoint of guidance due to the challenges of operating with a reduced workforce, including senior management, and power supply disruptions in Q4. Operating costs per tonne were 3% above the top end of our guidance range due mainly to additional costs associated with repairs and maintenance, HMC haulage, and COVID-19 management. In 2022, we will look to progress towards becoming a first quartile producer on the industry revenue to cost curve.

Product market

Kenmare is the world’s largest supplier of ilmenite and the Moma Mine is one of the largest titanium minerals deposits globally. The titanium feedstocks we produce are principally used to make pigment, which is essential for imparting whiteness and opacity in the production of paints, paper, plastic, and a range of other items we use in our everyday lives.

2021 was a strong year for all of Kenmare’s product markets, with increased volumes sold at a 21% higher average price than in 2020. Robust demand for titanium feedstocks, like ilmenite, was driven primarily by global pigment production reaching a record high and the titanium metal market improving. Following softer demand in 2020, the market for zircon, our main co-product, stabilised in Q1 2021 and then saw price increases throughout the remainder of 2021. The positive pricing momentum for all our products has continued into 2022, with global inventories remaining low.

Outlook

Although the pandemic continued to create huge challenges in 2021, I believe we have built a stronger business. The past two years have shown us what we are all capable of, particularly when we pull together and look out for each other. I would like to thank all our stakeholders, particularly those in Mozambique, for their invaluable support.

I would also like to thank Steven McTiernan for his outstanding contribution to Kenmare. He led the Company as Chairman during a period of significant change, providing constructive challenge, wise counsel, and strong support. I look forward to working with Andrew Webb and ensuring we continue to deliver positive returns and create value for all our stakeholders.

As we look to the months and years ahead, we know we have a lot of hard work ahead of us to live up to our strategy of operating responsibly, delivering long-life, low-cost production, and allocating capital efficiently, including developing accretive growth opportunities. However, we can be proud that our operations are safe and performing well, our balance sheet is strong, our product markets are tight, and our employees have proven they can succeed even in the most difficult conditions.

Michael Carvill
Managing Director

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