The stubbornly low uranium prices have pushed Paladin Energy’s half-year loss higher with no short-term improvement on the horizon
A third consecutive year of weak uranium prices has led to Paladin Energy’s half year net loss increasing to $US255 million.
The uranium producer does not expect any short-term improvement either, shutting one of its two producing mines last week and reducing production guidance for the year.
However Paladin predicts that the nuclear power industry will recover and the long-term future will be positive for uranium producers, with the current range of mine closures and lack of investment in new supply leading to sharp price rises.
Chinese giant, China National Nuclear Corp agreed last year to pay Paladin $US190 million for a 25 per cent stake in Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia, with regulatory approval expected this year.
The company’s shares closed steady at 47.5 cents.
Paladin’s loss widened by 32 per cent from a $US193.5 million half year loss last year.
The result was inflated by a $US226.5 million impairment on its Queensland exploration assets.
Stripping those out, Paladin’s gross result was a $US29.3 million loss compared to an $US11.3 million profit last year.
It blamed the loss on a 21 per cent fall in the uranium price and higher impairment of inventory at the loss-making Kayelekera mine in Malawi it put on care and maintenance last week.
By the end of the year Paladin had cut its basic cost of production in the December quarter by 8.0 per cent to $US27.50 a pound at the Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia and 24 per cent to $US33.10 at the more costly Kayelekera.
Paladin’s average realised uranium sales price for the six months was $US38.40 a pound, compared to $US72 at the time of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident that triggered shutdowns of reactors around the world.
Following the decision to close Kayelekera, Paladin has revised 2014 production guidance from 8.3-8.7 million pounds to 7.8-8.0 million pounds.
No dividend will be paid.