Sliding copper prices and production bottlenecks took earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation down from $1,078.9 million in the first half of last year to $904.2 million.
Earnings per share tumbled 33.3% from 29.4 US cents to 19.6, and the interim dividend has been cut by 34% from 10.3 cents a share to 6.8 cents.
US-China trade tensions hit prices
Chief executive Ivan Arriagada saids: “As expected, it has been a challenging first half of the year with the lower grades impacting our performance. It is important to remember that we always said that 2018 would be a year of two very distinct halves. As we have been guiding previously, our production profile for the year is skewed to the second half, as grades are projected to increase throughout the year, allowing us to meet full year guidance. This improvement in grades will also be maintained and carried into 2019.”
Despite his upbeat outlook, the shares fell 50.2p to 836.2p.
Despite this recent decline, the average realised copper price for Antofagasta in the first half of this year was $3 a pound, a 10.3% rise on the $2.72 achieved in the first half of last year.
But copper production was 8.5% lower than in the first half of last year, at 317,000 tonnes. The company said this was primarily caused by lower grades at its 70% owned Centinela mining operation and a pipeline blockage at its 60% owned Los Pelambres site.