Mineral sands miner Iluka Resources slashed its dividend as profit dived in the first half due to plunging prices and weak demand. Net profit fell by 88 per cent to $34.3 million, as a hoped-for recovery in zircon demand did not occur. It declared an interim dividend of 5¢ a share, fully franked, down 80 per cent on last year's 25¢ payout.
Livestock feed producer Ridley Corp will start a program to modernise its mills in the coming year. It commissioned a new mill at Pakenham in Victoria late last year, which, coupled with a recent improvement in sentiment in the dairy sector, should improve earnings in 2013-14. Ridley made a loss of $21.7 million in year to June 30, which it blamed on price pressures in the dairy industry, reductions in the use of feed by dairy farmers and fierce competition.
Deep paper cuts
PaperlinX has incurred another loss but says its performance is improving. The paper merchant made a net loss of $90.2 million in 2012-13, an improvement on a $266.7 million loss in 2011-12. Costs from restructuring and asset write-downs in the latest 12 months were $51.7 million, and the company shed 600 staff, or about 12 per cent of its workforce. The cuts are expected to deliver permanent savings of $35 to $40 million in the year ahead.
Trade Me invests
Shares in Trade Me dropped to a two-month low after New Zealand's largest online auction site said earnings growth would slow in the coming year as it invests more in its business. Profit rose 4 per cent to $NZ78.6 million ($69.7 million) in the year to June 30, on revenue up 15 per cent at $NZ164 million.
Investa Office Fund reported 56 per cent growth in net profit to $158.7 million, from $101.9 million in the previous corresponding period. This was made despite the tough office leasing conditions across the country. The annual distribution was up 1 per cent to 17.75¢, 0.25¢ higher than last year, which included a 1.9¢ special distribution. The earnings for 2014 per unit were expected to increase 6 per cent to 26.5¢.