Noranda Income Fund
TSX : NIF.UN

Noranda Income Fund

March 01, 2017 07:45 ET

Noranda Income Fund Reports Fourth Quarter and FY2016 Financial Results

SALABERRY-DE-VALLEYFIELD, QUÉBEC--(Marketwired - March 1, 2017) - Noranda Income Fund (TSX:NIF.UN) (the "Fund") today reported its financial results for the three month period and full year ended December 31, 2016. All amounts are in Canadian currency unless otherwise stated.

2016 Fiscal Year Highlights

  • The Fund's Supply and Processing Agreement was renewed, on market terms, with Glencore Canada Corporation ("Glencore Canada") to May 2022.
  • The Fund repaid the remaining $22.5 million of Senior Secured Notes in 2016.
  • The Fund's asset-based revolving credit facility was extended to November 15, 2017.
  • Zinc metal sales increased 4% to 273,052 tonnes, in line with the Fund's target for the year.
  • Adjusted Net Revenues1 were $285.8 million, down 5% from $301.0 million for 2015.
  • Production costs per tonne of zinc produced were down 2% from 2015.
  • Loss before income taxes of $38.5 million, compared to earnings before income taxes of $49.8 million, due largely to non-cash asset impairment charges of $73 million recorded in 2016.
  • Zinc metal production increased 2% to 277,022 tonnes, exceeding the Fund's target for the year.

"Against a backdrop of tightening zinc concentrate supply and resulting reduced treatment charges, we prepared for market terms effective May 2017 through our focus in 2016 on improving plant efficiency, reducing operating costs and improving plant safety," said Ms. Eva Carissimi, President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Electrolytic Zinc Limited. "Our efforts were reflected in near-record production of 277,022 tonnes, a 2% reduction in production costs and a strengthening of our balance sheet through debt repayments of $22.5 million. Most significantly, our Supply and Processing Agreement was renewed, removing considerable uncertainty relating to the supply of feed for our operations."

Ms. Carissimi added, "While our recent progress will help us to mitigate some of the near-term challenges facing our industry, we expect our financial results in 2017 will be adversely impacted by the transition to market terms at a time when spot treatment charges are near historic lows. Management is confident that with the contribution of all stakeholders, the Fund will continue to reduce costs, improve capacity and improve safety to remain competitive in the tight zinc concentrate market."

Fourth Quarter 2016 Highlights

  • Adjusted Net Revenues1 were $83.0 million, down from $91.2 million for Q4 2015.
  • Production costs per tonne of zinc produced were 2% lower than Q4 2015.
  • Zinc metal production increased to 72,291 from 71,971 tonnes for Q4 2015.
  • Zinc metal sales were 69,196, down from 79,552 tonnes for Q4 2015
1 Adjusted Net Revenues means revenues less raw material purchase costs ("Net Revenues") excluding unrealized concentrate settlement adjustments and after foreign exchange gain/loss and derivative financial instruments gain/loss.

Highlights Subsequent to Quarter and Year ended December 31, 2016

  • Glencore Canada and the Fund reached an agreement whereby Glencore will supply all of the Processing Facility's zinc concentrate requirements and purchase all the zinc metal production for the 12 month period ending April 30, 2018.
  • In light of the prevailing market conditions now facing the Fund, the Board of Trustees announced the suspension of future monthly distributions to unitholders on January 31, 2017.
  • On February 12, 2017, unionized workers initiated a strike at the Processing Facility. In response to the strike, management secured the operations in the days following and has resumed partial production with staff operating the facility. Management is in the process of evaluating its production capacity under this scenario. The Fund has attempted to minimize the impact on customers by shipping inventory and new production.

2016 Financial and Operating Results

Loss before income taxes was $38.5 million in 2016, down from earnings before income taxes of $49.8 million in 2015. The year-over-year decline was largely due to asset impairment charges recorded in 2016 of $73.0 million compared to asset impairment charges of $10.3 million for 2015. The $73.0 million non-cash impairment charge reflected the significant tightening availability of zinc concentrate supply in 2016, which has resulted in downward pressure on both current and expected future treatment charges for zinc smelters.

The decline in 2016 earnings was also due to lower zinc metal premiums and lower sulphuric acid revenues, although these declines were partially offset by a weaker average Canadian dollar compared to the US dollar, lower depreciation and reclamation costs, higher zinc metal sales and lower unit production costs.

Adjusted Net Revenues for 2016 were $285.8 million, down 5% from $301.0 million for 2015. The decline was mainly due to lower zinc premium and sulphuric acid revenue, though partially offset by higher volume of sales of zinc metal.

Zinc metal production in 2016 increased 2% to 277,022 tonnes from 272,861 tonnes in 2015.

Zinc metal sales in 2016 increased 4% to 273,052 tonnes from 262,719 tonnes sold in 2015. Sales for 2016 were within the Fund's target for the year of 265,000 to 275,000 tonnes.

Cash provided by operating activities in 2016 was $56.2 million, including a positive $8.5 million decrease in non-cash working capital due mainly to an increase in accounts payable offset by an increase in accounts receivables and inventory. In 2015, cash provided by operating activities was $16.2 million, including a negative $48.1 million increase in non-cash working capital due mainly to an increase in inventories and a reduction in accounts payable and accrued liabilities.

Unit production costs were down 2% from 2015. The production cost decreases were driven largely by lower energy expenses and lower contractor costs although offset by higher labour costs. In November 2016, the Fund submitted an application to the Québec Ministry of Finance under its program for electricity rate reduction for large industrial electricity consumers. In February 2017, the Fund received notice that its application had been accepted conditional to meeting additional milestones. There can be no assurance that the Fund will be able to meet those milestones.

Cash distributions of $13.7 million, or $0.36668 per unit were declared in 2016. These compare to cash distributions of $18.7 million, or $0.50004 per priority unit, declared in 2015. In light of prevailing market conditions and the need to be prudent with cash reserves, the Fund's Board of Trustees suspended monthly distributions to unitholders following the distribution paid on February 27, 2017. There is no assurance that monthly distributions will resume in the future.

The Fund remains committed to managing its debt levels as it prepares for market terms in May 2017. As at December 31, 2016, the Fund's debt was $64.0 million (net of deferred financing fees), down from $92.8 million at the end of December 2015. The reduction of the Fund's debt was due to the decrease in non-cash working capital during the period. The Fund's cash as at December 31, 2016 totalled $2.6 million.

On December 28, 2016, the Fund repaid its remaining $15 million balance of Senior Secured Notes from an aggregate principal amount of $90 million issued on July 28, 2011.

On October 31, 2016, the Fund extended the maturity of the asset-based revolving credit facility ("ABL Facility") to November 15, 2017 providing availability of up to $175 million. The terms of the ABL Facility remain essentially the same.

Fourth Quarter Financial and Operating Results

The Fund reported a loss before income taxes of $29.8 million in the three months ended December 31, 2016 compared to earnings before income taxes of $0.9 million in the same period a year ago. The $30.7 million decline is mostly due to the decrease in Net Revenues and an impairment charge of $52.0 million recorded in Q4 2016 compared to $10.3 million in Q4 2015. The non-cash impairment charge reflected the significant tightening availability of zinc concentrate supply in Q4 2016, which has resulted in downward pressure on both current and expected future treatment charges for zinc smelters.

Zinc metal production in Q4 2016 totalled 72,291, up from 71,971 tonnes for Q4 2015. Production in Q4 2016 enabled the Fund to surpass its target for FY2016. Zinc metal sales in Q4 2016 totalled 69,196 tonnes, down from 79,552 tonnes for the same period last year.

Cash provided by operating activities in Q4 2016 was $35.2 million, including a positive $19.6 million decrease in non-cash working capital due to a decrease in accounts receivables and an increase in accounts payable partially offset by an increase in the inventory. In the same period of 2015, cash provided by operating activities was $43.9 million, a total that was positively impacted by a $15.3 million decrease in non-cash working capital due to a reduction in accounts receivable and inventory and an increase in accounts payable.

Outlook for the Fund

With the renewal of the Supply and Processing Agreement, the main challenge now facing the Fund will be to continue to operate its Processing Facility at a profit once market terms take effect May 3, 2017. The Fund's Board of Trustees is mindful of the expected negative impact that the transition to market terms will have on the Fund's operations, including its ability to sustain its distribution policy at a time when spot treatment charges are near historic lows. The Board of Trustees is carefully reviewing the Fund's reserves and will augment the reserves if necessary.

In light of the unionized workers' strike at the Processing Facility and uncertainty about its duration, the Fund has deferred providing guidance for zinc metal production and sales targets for 2017 until an appropriate time.

Fourth Quarter 2016 Results Conference Call:
When: Wednesday, March 1 at 10:00 a.m. E.T
Dial in number: 647-788-4919 or
Toll-free North American number: 1-877-291-4570

To access the webcast and view the slide presentation from the Noranda Income Fund website: http://www.norandaincomefund.com/investor/conference.html or click on this link: http://www.gowebcasting.com/8374

Conference Call Replay:
Dial in number: 416-621-4642 or
Toll-free North American number: 1-800-585-8367

The conference ID is 75422233 and you will be prompted to provide your name and company.

The recording will be available until midnight on March 15, 2017.

A full version of the annual 2016 Management's Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) and audited Consolidated Financial Statements will be posted on http://www.sedar.com and on the Fund's website at http://www.norandaincomefund.com/investor/financials.html later today.

Readers should be advised that the summarized communication presented in this press release is limited in its disclosure. It is not a suitable source of information for readers who are unfamiliar with the Fund, and it is not in any way a substitute for reading the Consolidated Financial Statements and MD&A because a reader relying on this summary alone might overlook decision critical information.

Forward-Looking Information

This press release contains forward-looking information and statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Forward-looking information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause actual events, results or performance to be materially different from any future events, results or performance expressed or implied by the forward-looking information, and as a result, the Fund cannot guarantee that any forward-looking statements or information will materialize.

Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the effect of general business and economic conditions, the Fund's ability to operate at normal production levels, the Fund's capital expenditure requirements and other general risks and uncertainties set out in the Fund's continuous disclosure documents on available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Forward-looking information contained in this press release is based on, among other things, management's current estimates, expectations, assumptions, plans and intentions, which management believes are reasonable as of the current date, and which are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Except as required by law, the Fund does not undertake to update these forward-looking statements or information, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time by the Fund or on the Fund's behalf.

Noranda Income Fund is an income trust whose units trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "NIF.UN". Noranda Income Fund owns the electrolytic zinc processing facility and ancillary assets (the "Processing Facility") located in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Québec. The Processing Facility is the second-largest zinc processing facility in North America and the largest zinc processing facility in eastern North America, where the majority of zinc customers are located. It produces refined zinc metal and various by-products from sourced zinc concentrates. The Processing Facility is operated and managed by Canadian Electrolytic Zinc Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Glencore Canada Corporation.

Except where otherwise indicated, all amounts in this press release are expressed in Canadian dollars.

Further information about Noranda Income Fund can be found at
www.norandaincomefund.com

Key Performance Drivers

The following table provides a summary of the Fund's key performance drivers:

Three months ended Twelve months ended
December 31, December 31,
2016 2015 2016 2015
Zinc concentrate processed (tonnes) 121,877 133,075 516,686 519,507
Zinc secondary feed processed (tonnes) 3,708 3,450 13,059 20,290
Zinc grade (%) 51.9 52.3 52.2 52.8
Zinc recovery (%) 97.0 97.0 97.5 97.2
Zinc metal production (tonnes) 72,291 71,971 277,022 272,861
Zinc metal sales (tonnes) 69,196 79,552 273,052 262,719
Processing fee (cents/pound) 41.0 40.5 41.0 40.5
Realized zinc price (US$/pound) 1.21 0.82 1.02 0.98
Average LME zinc price (US$/pound) 1.14 0.73 0.95 0.88
By-product revenues ($ millions) 9.2 9.7 26.9 35.5
Copper in cake production (tonnes) 803 794 2,841 2,806
Copper in cake sales (tonnes) 1,025 1,229 3,114 2,998
Sulphuric acid production (tonnes) 95,344 108,431 423,433 415,477
Sulphuric acid sales (tonnes) 84,710 104,786 426,704 410,948
Average LME copper price (US$/pound) 2.40 2.22 2.21 2.50
Sulphuric acid netback (US$/tonne) 49 45 30 51
Average US/Cdn. exchange rate 1.33 1.34 1.33 1.28
* 1 tonne = 2,204.62 pounds
SELECTED FINANCIAL AND OPERATING INFORMATION
Three months ended December 31, Years ended December 31,
($ thousands) 2016 2015 2016 2015
Statements of Comprehensive Income Information
Revenues 237,160 205,473 766,242 763,516
Raw material purchase costs 152,066 108,958 496,139 422,960
Revenues less raw material purchase costs 85,094 96,515 270,103 340,556
Other expenses:
Production 48,153 54,271 187,765 181,657
Selling and administration 6,258 5,587 24,667 23,327
Foreign currency loss (gain) 6,802 7,900 (3,331 ) 32,328
Derivative financial instruments (gain) loss (4,713 ) 6,398 (3,250 ) 4,501
Depreciation of property, plant and equipment 6,801 9,146 27,651 31,454
Rehabilitation (recovery) expense (1,851 ) 626 (2,158 ) 1,711
Impairments of non-financial assets 52,000 10,300 73,000 10,300
(Loss) earnings before finance costs and income taxes (28,356 ) 2,287 (34,241 ) 55,278
Finance costs, net 1,399 1,380 4,221 5,493
(Loss) earnings before income taxes (29,755 ) 907 (38,462 ) 49,785
Current and deferred income tax (recovery) expense (5,845 ) 560 (8,533 ) 11,174
(Loss) earnings attributable to Unitholders and Non-controlling interest (23,910 ) 347 (29,929 ) 38,611
Distributions to Unitholders 2,812 4,686 13,747 18,746
Current income tax recovery on distribution (548 ) (231 ) (548 ) (231 )
(Decrease) increase in net assets attributable to Unitholders and Non-controlling interest (26,174 ) (4,108 ) (43,128 ) 20,096
Other comprehensive gain 7,591 3,190 67 5,037
Comprehensive (loss) income (18,583 ) (918 ) (43,061 ) 25,133
Statements of Financial Position Information December 31, 2016 December 31, 2015
Cash 2,567 1,878
Inventories 242,585 171,086
Accounts receivable 103,280 87,909
Income taxes receivable 5,000 -
Property, plant and equipment 138,309 211,542
Total assets 516,014 480,331
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities 175,521 59,669
Income taxes payables - 2,443
Total bank and other loans 63,987 92,836
Total liabilities excluding net assets attributable to unitholders 279,541 200,797
Three months ended December 31, Years ended December 31,
Statements of Cash Flows Information 2016 2015 2016 2015
Cash provided by operating activities before cash distributions and net change in non-cash working capital items 18,373 33,260 61,511 83,028
Cash distributions (2,812 ) (4,686 ) (13,747 ) (18,746 )
Net change in non-cash working capital items 19,601 15,317 8,456 (48,102 )
Cash provided by operating activities 35,162 43,891 56,220 16,180
Cash used in investing activities (13,408 ) (9,504 ) (26,259 ) (29,041 )
Cash (used in) provided by financing activities (20,655 ) (33,307 ) (29,272 ) 13,113
Net increase in cash 1,099 1,080 689 252
Cash distributions declared per Priority Unit 0.07500 0.12501 0.36668 0.50004

Contact Information

  • Michael Boone
    Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
    of Canadian Electrolytic Zinc Limited
    Noranda Income Fund's Manager
    416-775-1561
    info@norandaincomefund.com