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Press release from Marketwire

Paladin Energy Ltd: Financial Report for Six Months Ended 31 December 2011

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Paladin Energy Ltd: Financial Report for Six Months Ended 31 December 201107:56 EST Tuesday, February 14, 2012PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 14, 2012) -Paladin Energy Ltd ("Paladin" or "the Company") (TSX:PDN)(ASX:PDN) announces the release of its Financial Report for the six months ended 31 December 2011. The Financial Report is appended to this News Release.HighlightsRecord half year production of 3.069Mlb U3O8an 8.5%% increase on the corresponding 2010 period. In the December 2011 quarter, the Langer Heinrich Mine production increased to 92% of Stage 3 design capacity recording a 40% increase over the September 2011 quarter. The Kayelekera Mine production increased to over 90% of design for the December 2011 quarter recording a 60% increase over the September 2011 quarter. The key production measures for the Kayelekera Mine bankers' technical completion test, covering 90 days from 1 November 2011 to 31 January 2012, have been passed. Work is continuing on final completion test certification.US3.2M profit after tax for the quarter ended 31 December 2011.Cash position strengthened with US$141M Stage 3 project finance drawdown and A$68M share placement.Ending of three-year moratorium on the mining, development and production of uranium gives access to the world class Michelin Uranium Deposit validating decision to acquire the Aurora uranium assets at a discounted price of US$1.90/lb.New contracts for delivery of 2.8Mlb signed with three new customers. Mid to long term uranium market fundamentals intact.Progress on minority JV partner farm-outs on Australian projects with evaluation expected to be completed in the March quarter.Results(References to 2011 and 2010 refer to the equivalent six months ended 31 December 2011 and 2010 respectively).Safety and Sustainability:Safety continued to improve - rolling 12-month Loss Time Injury Frequency Rate down from 0.8 to 0.7. Production:Record half year production of 3.069Mlb U3O8 - an increase of 8.5% from the 2010 half year. Record quarterly production of 1.825Mlb U3O8 - an increase of 47% over the September 2011 quarter. Operations during the first part of the half year were affected by a combination of planned shutdowns on both projects and unscheduled remediation work at Kayelekera. Upgrades and remedial work has since been successfully completed with record final quarter production achieved. Langer Heinrich Mine:December 2011 half year U3O8 production increased to 2.042Mlb from 1.832Mlb in 2010, an 11% increase. Production was impacted by Stage 3 tie-in shutdowns, however increasing production benefits evident as new equipment comes on-line. December 2011 quarter U3O8 production 1.193Mlb, a 40% increase over the quarter ended September 2011. Quarterly production in the December 2011 quarter represented 92% of Stage 3 design capacity. Construction of the Stage 3 expansion project reached an overall 99% state of completion. Commissioning and overall staged ramp-up is well advanced with steam generation and NIMCIX areas recently coming on stream for production ramp-up. Ramp-up of plant is expected to be completed in March 2012. Stage 3 will increase annual production capacity from 3.7Mlb U3O8 to 5.2Mlb U3O8 per annum ("pa"). Economic results of feasibility study for Stage 4 expansion evaluation expected to be available by April 2012. Stage 4 is targeting conventional production of 8.7Mlb pa and 1.3Mlb pa through processing of low grade material. Kayelekera Mine: December 2011 half year U3O8 production increased to 1.027Mlb from 0.997Mlb in 2010, a 3% increase. Production was impacted by planned plant upgrade shut down (3 weeks) and unscheduled remediation work (3 weeks). December 2011 quarter U3O8 production of 0.632Mlb was an increase of 60% above the quarter ended September 2011, despite 12 days lost in October due to the acid plant being offline. Both November and December 2011 were record production months averaging 93% of nameplate. Bankers' technical completion test commenced on 1 November and completed as scheduled on 31 January 2012. The lenders technical expert has confirmed that the key production tests have been met. Work will continue with lenders over the next month to finalise completion test certification. Localised ground movement abated with conditions continuing to be stable. Cost Optimisation: Implementation plan approved to target reducing corporate and marketing costs by 15%. Tighter control has led to a reduction of corporate overheads. Labour costs have been reduced as the high capital investment phase has largely been completed. Administration, marketing and site non-production costs reduced from US$14.3M to US$11.8M in the December 2011 quarter as a result of the cost optimisation programme. Discretionary exploration expenditure reduced by US$5M for FY12 by extending programme timeframes. Kayelekera Mine cost optimisation programme is a key focus with production nearing design performance. Fourteen areas have been identified with specific targeted cost saving opportunities including the key areas of acid, reagents, diesel and transport. A restructure of the mining contract has been completed and agreement has been reached with the contractor to reduce transport costs. Sales:Sales revenue increased 50% from US$115.8M in 2010 to US$173.4M for the half year ended December 2011, mainly as a result of higher sales volumes for the December 2011 half year of 3.320Mlb U3O8 compared to the December 2010 half year sales volume of 2.317Mlb U3O8. The average realised uranium price for the December 2011 half year was US$52/lb compared to US$50/lb for 2010. Total sales volume for the December 2011 quarter of 1.318Mlb U3O8, a 34% decrease compared to the September 2011 quarter sales volume of 2.002Mlb U3O8. Uranium sales are expected to fluctuate quarter-on quarter due to the uneven timing of contractual commitments and resultant scheduling by utility customers. The average realised uranium price for the December 2011 quarter was US$53/lb, the same level as recorded for the September 2011 quarter. New contracts signed for the delivery of 2.8Mlb from 2012 to 2016 at pricing from mid to low US$60s per lb. Cash Cost of Sales (C1 cost)(1):Overall C1 cost for the six months ended December 2011 increased to US$34/lb from US$31/lb in 2010 as a result of a higher proportion of sales from the Kayelekera Mine as production at that mine continues to ramp up to design levels. Overall C1 cost for quarter ended December 2011 decreased to US$32/lb U3O8 from US$35/lb U3O8 for the September 2011 quarter reflecting a higher proportion of lower cost Langer Heinrich Mine sales. Langer Heinrich Mine C1 cost for quarter ended December 2011 decreased to US$31/lb U3O8 from US$32/lb U3O8 for the September 2011 quarter due to the effects of the lower Namibian dollar. With increased production from the ramp-up towards Stage 3 production levels, cost of production has reduced. This lower cost is expected to reflect in cost of sales in future results. FY12 target of US$28/lb remains unchanged. Kayelekera Mine C1 cost for the quarter ended December 2011 increased from US$40/lb in the quarter ended September 2011 to US$46/lb in the quarter ended December 2011. Inventory sold in the December quarter was produced in the September quarter when production was lower as a result of the plant shutdown. The product sold in the September 2011 quarter was predominantly from inventory held at 30 June 2011, which had previously been written down to a recoverable value of US$52.75/lb, with a C1 cost component of approximately US$40/lb. As production reaches design performance, a key focus is cost optimisation. Specific targeted costs saving areas include acid, reagents, diesel, transport and providing increased opportunities for local workers. (1) Cash cost of sales (C1 cost) = cost of sales excluding product distribution costs, sales royalties and depreciation and amortisation.Profit and Loss Three Months Ended 31 DecemberSix Months Ended 31 December2011201020112010US$MUS$MUS$MUS$MRevenue70.466.7173.4115.8C1 cost(42.8)(42.7)(112.0)(71.6)Royalties and distribution(3.1)(4.1)(9.6)(7.4)Amortisation and depreciation(7.5)(8.9)(24.8)(15.8)Gross profit17.011.027.021.0Exploration expenses(0.6)(0.5)(1.4)(1.0)Site non-production costs(4.8)(2.7)(10.2)(4.9)Corporate and marketing(5.1)(7.3)(11.0)(11.8)6.50.54.43.3Non-cash costs(1.9)(4.3)(4.4)(8.3)Other income & expenses0.8(2.3)(185.1)(8.3)Profit/(loss) before interest and tax5.4(6.1)(185.1)(13.3)Finance costs(14.1)(20.6)(27.9)(33.7)Loss before income tax(8.7)(26.7)(213.0)(47.0)Income tax benefit10.86.472.121.6Profit/(loss) after income tax2.1(20.3)(140.9)(25.4)Non-controlling interests1.12.720.74.3Net profit/(loss) after tax attributable to members of the parent3.2(17.6)(120.2)(21.1)Gross profit for the December 2011 half year increased to US$27.0M for 2011 from US$21M in 2010 due to higher sales volumes and prices. Adding back amortisation and depreciation of US$24.8M for the 2011 half year (2010: US$15.8M), gross profit before amortisation and depreciation increased to US$51.8M in 2011 from US$36.8M in 2010. Site non-production costs for the December 2011 half year were higher at US$10.2M due to higher royalties on increased sales, the acquisition of the Canadian operations and the Stage 4 expansion evaluation study. Corporate and marketing costs were US$0.8M lower for the December 2011 half year due to cost savings achieved through the cost rationalisation programme which has started to show results in the last quarter. Non-cash costs, mainly share based payments, for the December 2011 half year reduced from US$8.3M to US$4.4M as a result of no new grant of share rights in this period. Other income and expenses for the December 2011 half year mainly reflects the September 2011 impairment of the Kayelekera Mine asset expense of US$178.9M pre-tax (US$133M post-tax) caused by the deterioration of uranium prices since events in Japan in March 2011. Finance costs for the December 2011 half year decreased by US$5.8M due to the December 2010 expense, including a US$4.6M non-cash loss on convertible bond buy-back. A net loss of US$120.2M was recorded for the half year ended December 2011, mainly as a result of the US$133M (post-tax) impairment cost associated with the write down of the Kayelekera Mine assets that occurred in the previous quarter ended September 2011. The write down was considered necessary as a result of the reduction in uranium prices post Fukushima. Company recorded US3.2M profit after tax attributable to the ordinary equity holders for the quarter ended December 2011 compared to a US$17.6M loss in the comparative quarter as a result of higher sales volumes and prices as well as lower overhead and finance costs. Cash Flow:Positive cash flow of US$41.1M generated by the Langer Heinrich and Kayelekera mine operations for the six months before US$79.2M investment into working capital, administration, marketing and non-production costs of US$21.2M, exploration of US$1.4M and net interest paid of US$17.3M. The increase in working capital was mainly due to a reduction in creditors with the wind down of Stage 3 construction and an increase in debtors due to timing of sales at end of December 2011. Higher inventories associated with higher production levels at the Kayelekera Mine also contributed. Positive cash flow from financing activities of US$145.7M attributable to the drawdown of the Langer Heinrich Stage 3 project finance facility, proceeds from the share placement and after scheduled repayments of the Langer Heinrich and Kayelekera project finance facilities. Cash Position:Cash of US$126.9M at 31 December 2011. Funding:US$141M Langer Heinrich Stage 3 project finance facility fully drawndown. Remaining US$24.8M of Langer Heinrich Stage 1 project finance facility repaid. Capital Raising:Successfully completed A$68M institutional private placement. The documents comprising the Appendix 4D - Financial Report for the six months ended 31 December 2011, including the Report to Shareholders, Management Discussion and Analysis and Financial Statements and Certifications are attached and will be filed with the Company's other documents on Sedar (sedar.com) and on the Company's website (paladinenergy.com.au). To view the full Quarterly Report, please visit the following link: http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/paladin1.pdfGenerally Accepted Accounting PracticeThe news release includes non-GAAP performance measures: Cash cost of sales (C1 cost), gross profit before amortisation and depreciation, non-cash costs as well as other income and expenses. The Company believes that, in addition to the conventional measures prepared in accordance with GAAP, the Company and certain investors use this information to evaluate the Company's performance and ability to generate cash flow. The additional information provided herein should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with GAAP. Conference CallConference Call and Investor Update scheduled for 06:00 Perth & Hong Kong, Thursday 16 February 2012, 17:00 Toronto, Wednesday 15 February 2012 and 22:00 London, Wednesday 15 February 2012. Details were included in a separate news release made on 8 February 2012.ACN 061 681 098FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: John BorshoffPaladin Energy LtdManaging Director/CEO+61-8-9381-4366 or Mobile: +61-419-912-571john.borshoff@paladinenergy.com.auORGarry KortePaladin Energy LtdChief Financial Officer+61-8-9381-4366 or Mobile: +61-409-875-910garry.korte@paladinenergy.com.auORGreg TaylorPaladin Energy LtdInvestor Relations Contact+905 337-7673 or Mobile: +416-605-5120 (Toronto)greg.taylor@paladinenergy.com.auORMatthew KeanePaladin Energy LtdInvestor Relations Contact+61-8-9381-4366 or Mobile: +61-407-682-974matthew.keane@paladinenergy.com.auwww.paladinenergy.com.au