By Alex MacDonald
U.K.-listed, India-focused Vedanta Resources PLC (>> Vedanta Resources plc) Thursday said its outlook for natural resources remains robust as it reported higher earnings for the last fiscal year, buoyed by its foray into oil and gas and higher output in silver, alumina, aluminium and power.
The FTSE-100 diversified miner said revenue for the 12 months ending March 31, 2012, rose 23% to $14 billion while its keenly watched earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, rose 13% to $4 billion, in line with analysts' expectations of $4 billion, according to a Dow Jones Newswires poll of four analysts.
Net profit attributable to equity shareholders dropped to $59.8 million from $771 million, missing analysts' expectations of $245 million. The drop was largely due to increased amortisation and depreciation charges and interest expenses related to funding of its purchase of a majority stake in Cairn India Ltd. (532792.BY).
Vedanta is now India's largest private sector oil company after acquiring a majority stake in Cairn India for $8.7 billion last year. It has expanded its operations rapidly over the past several years to benefit from growing commodities demand in the emerging markets, particularly India.
"This has been a transformational year for the group, in which we completed the Cairn India acquisition, announced the consolidation of the group, and delivered strong production growth," said Vedanta's Chairman Anil Agarwal. "With our growth projects largely completed, [we] are well placed to continue this strong growth."
Most of the company's divisions reported previously with the exception of its majority-owned copper unit, Zambian Konkola Copper Mines, which reported a 12% Ebitda decline on the year to $387.9 million.
The company announced a full-year dividend of 55 cents a share, up from 52.5 cents in the same period a year before.
Vedanta's shares closed Wednesday up 1.3% or 13 pence at 1,026 pence a share, resulting in a market capitalization of GBP3.05 billion. The company's shares are up 1.1% since the beginning of the year compared with the FTSE 350 mining index, which is down 9.6% since the beginning of the year.
-By Alex MacDonald, Dow Jones Newswires; 44 20 7842 9328; firstname.lastname@example.org