Saudi mining company Ma’aden swings to profit on record year for commodities

Profit was driven by a 44% increase in sales to reach 26.76 billion Saudi riyals last year

A miner works in the Al Amar gold mine, 200km (124 miles) southwest of Riyadh, May 28, 2008. The Al Amar mine, an underground deposit in Saudi Arabia, mainly contains gold and zinc.    REUTERS\Fahad Shadeed   (SAUDI ARABIA)

Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden), one of the Gulf's biggest miners, swung to a net profit in 2021 after a “record year” for the company driven by high commodity prices and strong demand for its products.

Riyadh-listed Ma’aden reported a net profit of 5.22 billion Saudi riyals ($1.39bn) in 2021, compared with a loss of 209 million riyals in 2020, it said in a bourse statement.

Profit was driven by a 44 per cent increase in sales, which touched 26.76bn riyals last year, as well as higher average realised sales prices of all products except industrial minerals, stronger net profit of joint ventures attributable to Ma’aden and lower costs.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, or Ebitda, more than doubled to 12bn riyals last year.

“The year 2021 was a record and successful year for us. Favourable macro-economic conditions resulting from high commodity prices and high demand for our products contributed to the increase in Ma’aden’s sales and net profits,” said Robert Wilt, the company’s chief executive.

”Global demand for aluminium, copper and fertiliser continues to increase as industries evolve, creating new opportunities for Ma’aden.”

Commodity prices have risen sharply this year, partly due to supply chain bottlenecks, with the Ukraine-Russia conflict accelerating the rise. Commodities including gold and industrial metals such as aluminium have surged in price in recent weeks, reaching near-record highs.

Gold, a hedge against inflationary pressures and a safe haven for investors, was trading at $1,906.66 an ounce at 3.24pm UAE time after hitting $1,970.90 last week, its highest since January 2021.

Ma’aden, which was publicly listed in 2008 and is majority-owned by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, is central to Riyadh’s diversification strategy. The expansion of the industrial and mining sectors is an important part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plans.

A new mining law to boost foreign direct investment in the sector, which came into effect in January 2021, is expected to help the country explore mineral resources worth about five trillion riyals and tap into 20 million ounces of gold reserves underground, Invest Saudi said last year.

Ma’aden said the increase in 2021 profit was partially offset by the lower sales volume of ammonia, gold and flat-rolled products, reduced income from time deposits and higher costs.

Earnings per share for the fiscal year 2021 amounted to 4.25 riyals. The company’s board recommended a 100 per cent capital increase by granting bonus shares by capitalising 12.3bn riyals from the retained earnings and the statutory reserve.

Each shareholder will be granted one bonus share for each share, the statement said.

“Ma’aden has a pivotal role to play in the global economy, supplying materials to industries ranging from consumer goods to automotive to agriculture,” said Mr Wilt.

“Our vision is to be a sustainable mining champion with a global presence, and we look forward to providing further updates on our progress in due course.”

Updated: February 28, 2022, 2:01 PM