Saudi Arabia's Ma'aden posts 87% jump in 2022 net profit on revenue boost

The mining company said the outlook this year is positive as it remains focused on sustainable growth and financial discipline

Emloyees walk outside the Maaden Aluminium Factory in Ras Al-Khair Industrial area near Jubail City, 570 kms east of the Saudi capital Riyadh, on November 23, 2016. - Maaden Aluminium is a joint venture between the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Maaden) and Alcoa, the third largest producer of aluminium in the world. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP)
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Saudi Arabian Mining Company, one of the Gulf's biggest miners, reported a more than 87 per cent jump in its full-year 2022 net profit, boosted by higher sales and higher average prices of its products.

Ma’aden, as the Riyadh-listed company is known, posted 12.13 billion Saudi riyals ($3.23 billion) in net profit in 12 months to the end of December, it said in a filing on Monday to the Tadawul stock exchange, where its shares are traded.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) rose 51 per cent at the end of the reporting period to more than 18.68 billion riyals, driven by higher commodities prices.

Revenue for the January-December period surged 50 per cent to more than 40 billion riyals, driven by higher sales volumes. Cash generated from operations jumped 71 per cent on an annual basis to 16.21 billion riyals.

“Ma’aden delivered its safest and most profitable year ever. The transformation initiated a year ago is showing results,” Robert Wilt, Ma’aden’s chief executive, said.

“Financially, sales and profits grew … with working capital improvements contributing to record cash generation levels and the further strengthening of our balance sheet.”

Long-term borrowing and net debt declined by 12 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively, from December 2021, which helped to further strengthen the company's financial position.

Ma'aden's fourth-quarter net profit, however, declined by 53 per cent to 1.27 billion riyals, dragged down by higher depreciation, taxes and finance charges as a result of higher interest rates globally.

Revenue for the three-month period, however, increased to 9.47 billion riyals, up 11 per cent year-on-year, as sales volumes rose, Ma’aden said.

“From an operational viewpoint, the business is in good shape as we continue to drive efficiencies and take proactive measures to address the changing environment,” Mr Wilt said.

“We are investing in the next generation of low-cost, long-life projects, improving exploration and project delivery capabilities.”

The company has made “significant progress” towards meeting its growth targets as its Mansourah-Massarah gold mining projects nears commercial production, which will add over 2 million ounces of gold reserves to the company’s portfolio, he added.

The company will remain focused on sustainable growth and financial discipline to achieve long-term shareholder value.

“We will continue to invest in our operations and the exploration of the kingdom, but also seek upstream growth through domestic and international joint ventures and partnerships that will secure new sources of minerals and metals, while minimising exploration risk,” Mr Wilt said.

In January, Ma’aden teamed up with the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, to pursue global mining investment opportunities.

The two are forming a joint venture that will invest in international mining assets to secure the supply of strategic minerals, Ma’aden said at the time.

Ma'aden will control 51 per cent of the new company, which will have paid-up capital of 187.5 million riyals.

The two partners also agreed to provide additional funding of almost 12 billion riyals as the “business of the new company develops”. The funding will come through capital increases or “otherwise”, as agreed between the joint venture partners, Ma'aden said.

“Ma'aden’s maximum contribution shall be 6.01 billion riyals, unless Ma'aden and PIF agree otherwise in the future,” it said in the January bourse filing.

Ma’aden, which is majority-owned by the PIF, is central to Riyadh’s economic diversification strategy. Expansion of the industrial and mining sectors is a key objectives of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 agenda.

The mining law to boost foreign direct investment in the sector, which came into effect last year, is expected to help the Arab world’s largest economy explore mineral resources worth about 5 trillion riyals and tap into gold reserves of about 20 million ounces, Invest Saudi said in 2021.

Last year, Ma’aden signed a deal to build the world’s largest solar-powered steam plant to be used to refine bauxite into alumina, as part of its expansion strategy.

In April 2022, Ma’aden and Emirates Global Aluminium, the UAE’s biggest industrial company outside the oil and gas sector, agreed to extend a pact to collaborate on greener aluminium smelting technology, as part of their push to boost sustainable production.

Updated: February 13, 2023, 1:58 PM