August 2, 2019 / 6:42 AM / 20 days ago

UPDATE 1-Ferrexpo doubles dividend payment as profit jumps

(Adds details on results, comment, estimates)

Aug 2 (Reuters) - Iron ore pellet producer Ferrexpo has doubled its interim dividend payout after topping analysts’ expectations for first half core earnings on the back of a global rise in the price of the pellets it churns out for the steel industry.

The company said on Friday that earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 59% in the six months ended June 30 compared to the same period a year ago, to total $372 million.

The Switzerland-based company, the world’s third largest maker of the small balls of iron ore used in the production of steel, declared an interim dividend of 6.6 cents, up from 3.3 cents a year earlier.

“During the period we continued to benefit from strong pricing for our high-grade iron ore pellets, which helped deliver healthy cash flows,” Non-Executive Chairman Steve Lucas said in a statement on Friday.

Ferrexpo, which has been looking at possible misuse of funds it donated to a charity in Ukraine, said investigation into the matter is still ongoing.

Analysts had expected Ferrexpo to report core earnings of $360 million for the period based on a company-compiled consensus of five estimates.

First half revenue rose 28% to $787 million and the average cash cost of producing iron ore pellets rose 11% to $46 per tonne, the company said, as it stuck to its full year output forecast of 10.6 million tonnes. (Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

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