Teck Resources Limited's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Teck Resources Limited (TCK)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 24, 2012 11:00 am ET


Gregory A. Waller - Vice President of Investor Relations & Strategic Analysis

Donald R. Lindsay - Chief Executive Officer, President, Non Independent Director and Member of Executive Committee

Ronald A. Millos - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance

Timothy C. Watson - Senior Vice President of Project Development

Robert W. Bell - Chief Commercial Officer of Coal and Vice President

Ian C. Kilgour - Senior Vice President of Coal

Roger J. Higgins - Senior Vice President of Copper

Peter C. Rozee - Senior Vice President of Commercial and Legal Affairs


Meredith H. Bandy - BMO Capital Markets Canada

Sohail Tharani - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Orest Wowkodaw - Canaccord Genuity, Research Division

Greg Barnes - TD Securities Equity Research

Garrett S. Nelson - BB&T Capital Markets, Research Division

Oscar Cabrera - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

John Hughes - Desjardins Securities Inc., Research Division

David Charles - GMP Securities L.P., Research Division

Kerry Smith - Haywood Securities Inc., Research Division

Brian MacArthur - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Terence S. Ortslan - X-Ore Resources Inc.



Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to Teck's First Quarter 2012 Results Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] This conference call is being recorded on Tuesday, April 24, 2012. I would now like to turn the conference over to Greg Waller, Vice President, Investor Relations and Strategic Analysis. Please go ahead.

Gregory A. Waller

Thanks so much, operator. Good morning, everyone, and thanks for joining us this morning for our first quarter earnings conference call.

Before we start, I'd like to draw your attention to the forward-looking information slides on Pages 2 and 3 of our presentation package. This presentation does contain forward-looking information regarding our business. Various risks and uncertainties may cause actual results to vary. Teck does not assume the obligation to update any forward-looking statement.

And at this point, I'd like to turn the call over to Don Lindsay.

Donald R. Lindsay

Thank you, Greg, and good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us.

I will start this morning with a review of the results for the quarter, and then I'll turn the presentation over to Ron Millos, our CFO, to address some more in-depth financial topics. A number of other members of the management team are on the call this morning and available to answer your questions.

Starting on Slide 5. This is our best first quarter ever with record revenues and gross profit. Our coal production was good, considering the fact that it was the first quarter. And normally, we get difficult conditions in the first quarter, although this one was better than most. We produced 6.3 million tonnes for an annualized rate for over 25 million tonnes. We ended the quarter with a cash balance of about $3.8 billion, and after using some of our cash for dividends and debt refinancing transactions in the quarter, that was a good number. Subsequent to quarter end, we completed the acquisition of SilverBirch Energy to give us 100% control over the Frontier oil sands project.

And finally, during the quarter, we completed the highly anticipated QB2 feasibility study, which we will talk more about later on the call.

Turning to Slide 6. Our record first quarter revenues were over $2.5 billion, up over 8% from Q1 2011. And it was a record first quarter gross profit before depreciation and amortization of over $1.1 billion. Q1 profit of $218 million was impacted by a financing charge of $329 million associated with the debt refinancing transaction, so it is more appropriate to look at adjusted profit. First quarter adjusted profit was $504 million, which was up 12% from last year's first quarter, while over the same period EBITDA was $781 million.

We show our view of normalized or adjusted profit for the quarter on Slide 7. Profit attributable to shareholders before adjustments was $218 million. The most significant adjustment is due to our debt refinancing, which resulted in a $329 million after-tax charge. Other unusual items were derivative gains and onetime labor settlement charges related to new collective agreements in our Quebrada Blanca and Andacollo operations in Chile. Adjusting for these items, profit was $504 million for the quarter or $0.86 per share.

Turning to our operating results for the quarter on Slide 8. In our coal business, production was 6.3 million tonnes. The sales were 1 million tonnes lower as we have come through a weak point in the global steel production cycle. We certainly see the market improving now, though. The average realized price for the fourth quarter was USD $223 per tonne, about a 5% discount to the benchmark price of $235 per tonne for the premium brands of coal. Usually, the average realized price is about a 10% discount to the benchmark price due to the mix of our products, including some lower value PCI and thermal coals.

First quarter 2012 unit site costs were $70 per tonne and distribution cost came in at $34 per tonne. This gave us combined costs of CAD $104 per tonne. Year-over-year, we have seen our costs decline by approximately 8%.

On Slide 9, we continued to move towards our 28 million tonne production target from our existing 6 coal operations. As I mentioned, our 6.3 million tonnes of production equates to an annualized run rate of over 25 million tonnes. Total material moved in the quarter, combining raw coal production and waste rock, increased 15% on a year-over-year basis, and it's stabilizing at the rate necessary to achieve our production target.

At our Elkview operation, the plant upgrade is now successfully commissioned and running at the forecast 6 million tonne annualized run rate. So we're pleased with that.

And finally, the feasibility study for the reopening of the Quintette mine is progressing and is expected to complete this quarter.

In our copper business unit on Slide 10. Overall production was up versus Q1 last year, with cathode production steady and concentrate production increasing. Production of copper in concentrate was up 6,000 tonnes, primarily due to higher ore grades and better recoveries at Carmen de Andacollo and Antamina. In addition, Antamina's mix of mill feed during the first quarter increased to 63% copper-only ore versus approximately 54% during the same period last year, as we continue to transition to a higher copper production.

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