Noranda Income Fund
TSX : NIF.UN

Noranda Income Fund

July 28, 2015 07:45 ET

Noranda Income Fund Reports Second Quarter Earnings Before Income Taxes of $20.4 Million

SALABERRY-DE-VALLEYFIELD, QUÉBEC--(Marketwired - July 28, 2015) - Noranda Income Fund (TSX:NIF.UN) (the "Fund") today released its results for the second quarter of 2015.

Q2 2015 Overview

  • Earnings before income taxes of $20.4 million compared to Q2 2014 - loss of $2.6 million
  • Zinc metal production of 67,286 tonnes compared to Q2 2014 - 62,645 tonnes
  • Zinc metal sales of 71,259 tonnes compared to Q2 2014 - 59,598 tonnes
  • Zinc premiums averaged 9.6 cents US per pound (11.8 cents Cdn) compared to Q2 2014 - 10.2 cents US per pound (11.1 cents Cdn)
  • Declared monthly cash distributions from May to July 2015 of $0.04167 per Priority Unit

Financial and Operating Results (Second quarter 2015 compared to second quarter 2014)

The Fund reported earnings before income taxes of $20.4 million in the three months ended June 30, 2015 compared to a loss of $2.6 million in the same period of 2014. The $23 million increase is mainly due to higher volumes of zinc metal sales, a positive impact related to inventory margin, higher by-product revenues, a weaker average Canadian dollar compared to the US dollar and lower unit production costs, partially offset by higher feed acquisition costs. The Fund's inventory margin is impacted by the movement of zinc prices and the US/Cdn. exchange rate. A decrease in the Fund's inventory margin over a reporting period, as had occurred in the second quarter of 2015, results in a positive impact on the Fund's earnings before income taxes. An increase in the Fund's inventory margin over a reporting period results in a negative impact on the Fund's earnings before income taxes.

Cash provided by operating activities in the three months ended June 30, 2015 was $2.8 million, including a negative $9.3 million increase in non-cash working capital due to an increase in accounts receivable and a decrease in accounts payable, partly offset by a decrease in inventories. In the same period of 2014, cash provided in operating activities was $12.6 million, which was negatively impacted by a $0.7 million increase in non-cash working capital due to an increase in inventories partly offset by a decrease in accounts receivables and an increase in accounts payable. Cash distributions of $4.7 million were declared in both the 2015 and 2014 quarterly periods.

Financial and Operating Highlights (Six month period ending June 30, 2015 compared to the six month period ending June 30, 2014)

The Fund reported earnings before income taxes of $35.7 million for the six month period ended June 30, 2015 compared to earnings of $8.5 million in the same period of 2014. The $27.2 million difference is mainly due to higher volumes of zinc metal sales, a positive impact related to inventory margin, higher by-product revenues, a weaker average Canadian dollar compared to the US dollar and lower unit production costs, partially offset by higher feed acquisition costs. The Fund's inventory margin is impacted by the movement of zinc prices and the US/Cdn. exchange rate. A decrease in the Fund's inventory margin over a reporting period, as had occurred in the first half of 2015, results in a positive impact on the Fund's earnings before income taxes. An increase in the Fund's inventory margin over a reporting period results in a negative impact on the Fund's earnings before income taxes.

Cash used in operating activities in the six months ended June 30, 2015, was $25.5 million, including a negative $51.3 million increase in non-cash working capital due to an increase in inventories and accounts receivable, partially offset by an increase in accounts payable. In the same period of 2014, cash provided by operating activities was $0.2 million, which was negatively impacted by a $21.3 million increase in non-cash working capital due to an increase in inventories partially offset by an increase in accounts payable and a decrease in accounts receivables. Cash distributions of $9.4 million were declared in the first six months of both years.

During the six months period ended June 30, 2015, the $51.3 million increase in non-cash working capital was funded by borrowing from the Fund's asset-backed credit facility and from operating cash flow.

Outlook for the Fund

The Board continues to work on the long-term strategy for the Fund.

The main challenges facing the Fund are (a) the continued supply of zinc concentrate and (b) the ability for the Processing Facility to continue to operate profitably after the expiry of the initial term of the Supply and Processing Agreement in May 2017, at which time the Fund expects that it will be required to purchase concentrate on market terms instead of the current fixed processing fee. The Fund's results under market terms will be subject to more volatility than under the current Supply and Processing Agreement.

The Fund (through the independent trustees) is in discussions with Glencore Canada regarding the supply of zinc concentrate following May 2, 2017. There is no assurance that the discussions will result in continued supply on terms that allow the Fund to continue profitable operations. Discussions with third parties are complex given the Fund's structure, including without limitation that the Supply and Processing Agreement and other contractual arrangements with Glencore Canada and its affiliates automatically renew with Glencore Canada for successive periods of five years unless Glencore Canada provides the Fund with written notice to the contrary at least 180 days prior to the expiry of the applicable term (by November 2016).

The Independent Committee is being assisted in its work by an industry consultant, Steve Hayes, whom the Independent Committee retained in December 2012 to advise it with regards to the zinc concentrate market. In May 2014, TD Securities was engaged as financial advisor to the independent trustees.

Distribution Policy

When not restricted, and as may be considered appropriate by the Board, the Fund's policy is to make monthly distributions to Unitholders. In determining whether there shall be a distribution and the level thereof, the Board periodically reviews the Fund's financial performance, business environment and prospects, and determines the appropriate levels of reserves. The Board also continues to evaluate on a monthly basis the expected future cash flows of the Fund as well as the reserves that may be required in the future.

Given the challenges described above, the Board continues to evaluate the expected future cash flows in a variety of potential scenarios, as well as the required reserves under each of those scenarios. Given the uncertainty of future pricing and market conditions for zinc concentrate, and that several potential scenarios are being considered, including the discontinuation of operations following the expiry of the Supply and Processing Agreement, the Board is carefully reviewing and, if required, will augment the Fund's reserves. An increase in reserves would have an adverse effect on cash available for distributions. There is no assurance that monthly distributions will continue in the future; nor is there any assurance that, if they do continue, the level of such distributions will not vary from the level of the most recent monthly cash distribution.

Conference Call and Webcast:

July 28, 2015 at 2:00 p.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/6677.

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

The conference ID is 84207862 and you will be prompted for your name and company. The recording will be available until midnight on August 11, 2015.

A full version of the second quarter 2015 Management's Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) and unaudited 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.

SELECTED FINANCIAL AND OPERATING INFORMATION

Three months ended June 30, Six months ended June 30,
($ thousands) 2015 2014 2015 2014
Statements of Comprehensive Income Information
Revenues 214,362 150,993 374,833 305,338
Raw material purchase costs 138,024 95,123 215,169 173,498
Revenues less raw material purchase costs 76,338 55,870 159,664 131,840
Other expenses:
Production 52,413 45,297 88,116 89,281
Selling and administration 6,123 5,587 11,959 10,948
Foreign currency (gain) loss (3,708 ) (5,521 ) 10,306 (1,834 )
Derivative financial instruments (gain) loss (7,712 ) 1,213 (5,063 ) 2,039
Depreciation of property, plant and equipment 8,708 8,943 15,207 17,639
Rehabiliation (recovery) expense (1,366 ) 1,656 638 2,733
Earnings (loss) before finance costs and income taxes 21,880 (1,305 ) 38,501 11,034
Finance costs, net 1,486 1,314 2,752 2,566
Earnings (loss) before income taxes 20,394 (2,619 ) 35,749 8,468
Current and deferred income tax expense (recovery) 4,357 (854 ) 7,672 1,726
Earnings (loss) attributable to Unitholders and Non-controlling interest 16,037 (1,765 ) 28,077 6,742
Distributions to Unitholders 4,686 4,687 9,373 9,375
Increase (decrease) in net assets attributable to Unitholders and Non-controlling interest 11,351 (6,452 ) 18,704 (2,633 )
Other comprehensive gain (loss) 2,471 (330 ) 1,146 (2,091 )
Comprehensive income (loss) 13,822 (6,782 ) 19,850 (4,724 )
Statements of Financial Position Information June 30, 2015 December 31, 2014
Cash 1,352 1,626
Inventories 169,488 118,948
Accounts receivable 110,162 94,552
Income taxes receivable - 4,103
Property, plant and equipment 223,600 228,879
Total assets 518,574 458,039
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities 77,471 76,256
Income taxes payables 2,507 -
Total bank and other loans 116,681 78,970
Total liabilities excluding net assets attributable to unitholders 244,323 203,638
Three months ended June 30, Six months ended June 30,
Statements of Cash Flows Information 2015 2014 2015 2014
Cash provided by operating activities before cash distributions and net change in non-cash working capital items 16,792 18,041 35,169 30,891
Cash distributions (4,686 ) (4,687 ) (9,373 ) (9,375 )
Net change in non-cash working capital items (9,277 ) (714 ) (51,307 ) (21,263 )
Cash provided by (used in) operating activities 2,829 12,640 (25,511 ) 253
Cash used in investing activities (7,532 ) (11,053 ) (12,100 ) (19,745 )
Cash provided by (used in) financing activities 3,040 (1,903 ) 37,337 6,168
Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents (1,663 ) (316 ) (274 ) (13,324 )
Cash distributions declared per Priority Unit 0.12501 0.12501 0.25002 0.25002

Key Performance Drivers

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

Three months ended Six months ended
June 30, June 30,
2015 2014 2015 2014
Zinc concentrate processed (tonnes) 126,255 120,296 251,624 238,510
Zinc secondary feed processed (tonnes) 7,126 6,097 12,036 8,927
Zinc grade (%) 53.0 52.1 53.2 51.9
Zinc recovery (%) 97.7 97.2 97.3 97.1
Zinc metal production (tonnes) 67,286 62,645 135,090 122,189
Zinc metal sales (tonnes) 71,259 59,598 123,756 120,107
Processing fee (cents/pound) 40.5 40.0 40.5 40.0
Zinc metal premium (US cents/pound) 9.6 10.2 9.8 10.2
Average LME zinc price (US$/pound) 1.00 0.94 0.97 0.93
By-product revenues ($ millions) 8.6 7.9 16.2 14.4
Copper in cake production (tonnes) 670 525 1,295 1,092
Copper in cake sales (tonnes) 612 709 1,217 882
Sulphuric acid production (tonnes) 99,786 96,760 198,886 188,734
Sulphuric acid sales (tonnes) 107,790 93,690 199,617 188,051
Average LME copper price (US$/pound) 2.74 3.08 2.68 3.14
Sulphuric acid netback (US$/tonne) 50 47 51 51
Average US/Cdn. exchange rate 1.23 1.09 1.24 1.10
* 1 tonne = 2,204.62 pounds

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