Wed, 17 May 2000

Antam books Rp 97.52b in first quarter profit

JAKARTA (JP): Gold and nickel mining company PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) reported on Tuesday that its unaudited first quarter net profit increased to Rp 97.52 billion (about US$11.6 million), from Rp 36.39 billion in the same period last year.

First quarter net sales rose to Rp 301.77 billion, more than twice the figure in the same quarter last year, which was Rp 126.82 billion.

The company said ascribed the surge in net sales to a rise in the sales volume of nickel, gold and silver by 165 percent, 197 percent and 582 percent, respectively.

"We certainly have benefited from a rise in the volume of gold sales in the first quarter," the company's president, Deddy Aditya Sumanagara, told reporters after the company's annual shareholders meeting.

He said the increase in the sales also resulted from a rise in the price of nickel to $3.90 per pound in the first quarter of the year from $1.9 per pound in the same period last year.

Antam's nickel sales volume during the first quarter rose to 2,194 metric tons from 827 metric tons in the same period last year.

Gold sales rose to 941 kilograms in the first quarter of the year, from 317 kilograms in the corresponding period last year, while silver sales increased to 8,077 kilograms from 1,184 kilograms.

Antam's nickel output rose to 2,406 metric tons during the first quarter of the year, as against 993 metric tons in the same period last year, while gold output increased to 1,135 kilograms from 295 kilograms.

Silver production surged to 7,543 kilograms in the first quarter of the year, from 2,084 kilograms in the same period last year.

Shareholders approved the management's proposal to distribute a per share dividend of Rp 73.19 for the 1999 financial year.

Deddy said that Antam hoped to begin construction work on an expansion project of its nickel mining site, called the FeNI III project, by the fourth quarter of the year.

Antam, he said, would appoint a third party through an open tender to carry out the construction.

Four foreign bidders, namely Ferrostall AG of Germany, SNC Lavalin Inc. of Canada, TESSAG INA Group of Germany and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. of Japan have been selected to submit their offerings to Antam by Aug. 1 this year, according to Deddy.

The final selection process was expected to be completed soon after the Aug. 1 offerings deadline so that the construction of the project could start as early as the fourth quarter of the year, Deddy said.

Based on the existing plan, the construction project would be completed in 28 months, or in 2003, he added.

The expansion project would increase Antam's nickel production capacity by 13,000 metric tons to 24,000 tons per year and generate an additional revenue of between $80 and $95 million a year for the company.

Aneka Tambang is listed on the Jakarta Stock Exchange (JSX) and the Australia Stock Exchange. Its share price was down by Rp 2.5 to close at Rp 1,025 on Friday on the JSX. (udi)