Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Limited
TSX : CLM

Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Limited

March 09, 2011 06:30 ET

Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Reports Fourth Quarter and 2010 Financial Results

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 9, 2011) -

Attention: Business / Financial Editors

Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Ltd. (TSX:CLM) ("CLM" or the "Corporation", or "Consolidated Thompson") today reported financial and operational results for the fourth quarter and the year ended December 31, 2010. 

Highlights:

  • For the year, revenues reached $325.5 million and net income reached $31.0 million, or $0.13 per diluted share.
  • Results for the year reflect strong financial performance since the initial shipments of high-quality iron ore concentrate from the Bloom Lake mine in May 2010.
  • The Corporation recorded its second quarterly profit in a row in the fourth quarter with a net income of $42.6 million or $0.18 per diluted share.
  • Cash flow from operating activities was positive for the fourth quarter and the year 2010 at $14.1 and $8.3 million respectively.
  • The acquisition of the Corporation by Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2011.

"The year ended December 31, 2010 was marked by significant events that were very positive for our shareholders. We are very proud of the financial results achieved following the start-up of our Bloom Lake mine, the successful financing transactions effected in 2010 and the initiation of the expansion project to double the capacity of the Bloom Lake mine. As a testament to those achievements, shareholders of CLM recently agreed to the Cliffs Natural Resources acquisition of all the outstanding common shares of the Corporation in a transaction valued at $4.9 billion, creating significant value for our shareholders." said Brian Tobin, Executive Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated Thompson.

For the year ended December 31, 2010, the Corporation's sales volumes reached 2,733,000 WMT of iron ore concentrate, including 1,016,000 WMT in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to nil last year. During the fourth quarter, the activities of the Corporation have been affected by some unplanned shutdowns at the mill which reduced the mill availability, and rail transportation was interrupted for 12 days in December due to the closure of the QNS&L railway following heavy rains, creating a force majeure. As such, iron ore concentrate inventory as at December 31, 2010 accumulated, mostly at the Bloom Lake production facilities.

Sales reached $134.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2010. For the year ended December 31, 2010, sales were $325.5 million compared to nil in the same period last year. Net income in the fourth quarter was $42.6 million or $0.18 per diluted share compared to a net loss of $21.9 million or $(0.10) per diluted share in the same period last year. For the year ended December 31, 2010, net income was $31.0 million or $0.13 per diluted share compared to a net loss of $60.5 million or $(0.35) per diluted share in the corresponding 2009 period.

Fourth quarter cash flow from operating activities was positive for the second quarter in a row at $14.1 million, compared to $(43.6) million in the fourth quarter of 2009. For the year ended December 31, 2010, cash flow from operating activities was $8.3 million, compared to $(82.1) million in the corresponding 2009 period.

As at December 31, 2010, the phase I of the investment in the Bloom Lake property was completed (8 MTPY design production capacity). Cumulative investment including the mine and mill, the ancillary rail (including the Arnaud junction section) and port facilities reached $959.4 million.

During the fourth quarter of 2010, the Corporation issued US$230 million of unsecured convertible debentures. The convertible debentures mature on November 30, 2017 and bear interest at a rate of 5.0% per annum. The Corporation also entered into a US$250 million senior secured revolving credit facility with a syndicate of banks. This facility has a maturity of December 2014 and can be used for general corporate purposes. As at December 31, 2010, cash and cash equivalents amounted to $234.1 million, compared to $184.9 million as at December 31, 2009.

Acquisition of the Corporation by Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.

On January 11, 2011, the Corporation announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement ("Arrangement Agreement") pursuant to which Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. will acquire all the outstanding common shares of the Corporation by way of a plan of arrangement (the "Arrangement") for C$17.25 per share in cash. The Corporation's Board of Directors has unanimously determined to recommend that the Corporation shareholders vote in favour of the Arrangement. Concurrently with the announcement, WISCO and its related entities which hold approximately 19% of the outstanding common shares of the Corporation as well as directors, senior officers and other insiders have entered into support agreements pursuant to which they have all agreed to vote their common shares in favour of the Arrangement.

On February 25, 2011, the Arrangement has been approved by 97% of the votes cast at the special shareholders meeting. On February 28, 2011, the Canadian Competition Bureau issued a "no-action" letter, which constitutes clearance under the Competition Act pursuant to the terms of the Arrangement. The Corporation appeared in the Superior court of Quebec on March 1, 2011 and obtained the final order to proceed with the Arrangement.

The transaction is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2011, subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the other closing conditions.

Notes:

All figures are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise stated.

The Corporation reports sales volumes in wet metric tons ("WMT"). The Q4 and full year 2010 MD&A, and the 2010 consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes have been filed on SEDAR and may also be found at http://www.consolidatedthompson.com/s/Investors.asp.

About Consolidated Thompson

Consolidated Thompson Iron Mines Limited is a mining company with mineral exploration and development activities focused on iron ore. Based in Montreal, Canada, it has iron ore rich mining properties in the well-known Labrador Trough that spans North-Eastern Québec and Western Newfoundland and Labrador. It is currently operating the Lake Bloom mine and currently moving towards the initial production rate of 8.0 million tonnes per year of high quality iron ore concentrate with a Fe content greater than 66%. An emerging world-class producer, Consolidated Thompson is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol 'CLM' and is part of several S&P/TSX indices including the S&P/TSX Composite Index.

Forward-Looking Information Cautionary Notice

Except for statements of historical fact relating to the Corporation, certain information contained herein constitutes ''forward-looking information'' under Canadian securities legislation. Forward looking information includes, but is not limited to, statements with respect to the transactions referred to above, the receipt of all necessary approvals and the expected time of closing. Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as ''plans'', ''expects'' or ''does not expect'', ''is expected'', ''budget'', ''scheduled'', ''estimates'', ''forecasts'', ''intends'', ''anticipates'' or ''does not anticipate'', or ''believes'', or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results ''may'', ''could'', ''would'', ''might'' or ''will be taken'', ''occur'' or ''be achieved''. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management as of the date such statements are made. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Corporation to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information, including but not limited to the time required to consummate the proposed transactions, the satisfaction or waiver of conditions in the Arrangement Agreement, material adverse changes in the affairs of Consolidated Thompson, any actions or omissions by Consolidated Thompson or its board of directors, any necessary actions to obtain required regulatory or other third-party approvals and consents, and other risks described in the Corporation's Annual Information Form posted under its profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Although Management has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there may be other factors that could cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. The Corporation does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

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