Orica grows in explosives market

Chemicals and explosives group Orica has reported strong sales and profit growth for the first half year barely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Melbourne company reported a statutory Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) of $165 million for the six months to 31 March 2020, compared to $33 million in the prior corresponding period.

Sales were up slightly on the previous half year to $2.88 billion.

During the half the company boosted ammonium nitrate sales volumes by four per cent to 1.95 million tonnes as customers in most markets remained open, regarded as essential industries.

Capital expenditure was $274 million, including work needed bringing the Burrup Ammonium Nitrate plant in Western Australia back into operation. Production there is now ramping up.

The company also announced the purchase of Peru’s leading manufacturer of industrial explosives, Exsa, and completed a capital raising.

Orica’s earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) were up two per cent, or five per cent after adjusting for an ownership structure change of the company’s China business.

Orica managing director Alberto Calderon said: “(The results) are a particularly positive set of operational and financial results, given they come from a period that had severe bushfire and weather issues in Australia,and the first impact of the coronavirus.

“At the same time, our safety performance continues to improve, with the Serious Injury Case Rate at its lowest level in last three years.”

Orica: Kooragang Island

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