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Iluka Resources Limited recently advised that its 2008 full-year expectation for net profit after tax (NPAT) has been upgraded to around $60 million, compared with the previous estimate of around $50 million. “Iluka’s higher earnings estimate for the full year reflects a number of factors, but principally the continued benefit of a lower A$/US$ exchange rate,” said David Robb, managing director. “The average A$/US$ spot exchange rate for second half to the end of November was 80.46 cents, compared with an average first half 2008 spot rate of 92.48 cents.
“While global market conditions and sentiment remain volatile, Iluka’s product shipments over recent months have remained firm such that, with only a few exceptions, customers are accepting contracted volumes as scheduled for 2008. Sales for rutile, synthetic rutile and zircon are forecast to exceed underlying 2008 production, supported by a draw-down in product inventories.
“Iluka has commenced pricing and volume negotiations for 2009. These discussions take place in a period of considerable uncertainty about the extent and duration of the global slowdown and may therefore continue well into the first quarter of 2009. Iluka remains of the view, based on supply tightness in high-quality titanium dioxide and zircon markets, that prices in 2009 should increase appreciably.
“Good progress has been made recently in securing key regulatory approvals for both the Murray Basin Stage 2 and Jacinth-Ambrosia projects. First production remains scheduled from Murray Basin Stage 2 for the second quarter of 2009 and from Jacinth-Ambrosia by mid 2010. Capital expenditure forecasts for both projects remain within previously announced amounts.”
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