Stillwater Mining earnings report improves; additional shift planned

2014-07-31T10:57:00Z 2014-08-01T00:13:22Z Stillwater Mining earnings report improves; additional shift plannedBy MIKE FERGUSON mferguson@
The Billings Gazette

Billings-based Stillwater Mining Co. on Thursday reported quarterly profits up 18 cents per diluted share for the quarter ending June 30, as compared to a 4 cents per diluted share loss during the second quarter of 2013.

During a conference call with analysts Thursday morning, Mick McMullen, the company’s president and chief executive officer, said the company spent $5.6 million in reorganization costs during the second quarter of 2014.

In March, the company laid off 48 administrative employees, including 35 in Montana. The remainder of the layoffs occurred at operations in Canada and South America.

Another 35 union workers at the Nye mine and the Columbus smelter and recycling center accepted voluntary buyouts from the company to cut costs.

McMullen said preparations are underway to add an additional shift at the East Boulder mill, which will increase production by about 2,000 platinum group metals ounces per month.

The company reported 2014 second-quarter net income at $17.9 million, compared to a $5.3 million loss during the second quarter in 2013. Total cash and investments were up $27.6 million during the most recent quarter, to $501.9 million.

All-in sustaining costs were $792 per minted ounce, a 6.5 percent decrease from the second quarter of 2013 and near the bottom of the updated guidance range.

Recycling gross working capital increased by $9.8 million from the previous quarter, while corporate overhead costs were reduced to $9.3 million, down 50 percent from the second quarter of 2013.

“We continue to focus on controlling our capital and operating costs, recognizing that cost management is a profit driver we can control, irrespective of future metal price behavior, which we cannot,” McMullen said in a news release. “Efforts to control costs during the quarter including paring back our workforce through both voluntary and involuntary severance programs; completing a detailed assessment of the profit contribution of each mine within the Stillwater Mine; carefully scrutinizing all proposed capital spending; and monitoring corporate overhead.”

He also credited a new agreement with Johnson Matthey, a British-based chemicals and precious metals company, for increases in recycling volumes.

Stillwater Mining Co.’s 2014 capital expenditures guidance is being decreased to a range of $125 million to $135 million, McMullen noted in the news release.

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