Poor demand hurts Iluka profit

Poor demand for mineral sands output unlikely to recover soon.

Poor global prices for zircon, rutile and titanium dioxide have hammered revenue for mineral sands miner Iluka (ILU), as Chairman Pizzey announced his resignation.

First half profit for the company plunged 87 per cent compared with the previous period to $34.3 million as revenue dipped 42% to $381 million.

Iluka said it was positive that prices for zircon would improve in the next half after seeing some demand return over the previous period and forecast that prices would return to trend going forward.  Titanium Dioxide prices were unlikey to recover in the near term, the company said.

CEO David Robb said, “It remains difficult to predict the course of demand recovery with any confidence. The trend in the business to 2013 has been encouraging and Iluka will maintain a prudent but optimistic approach, looking for opportunities that may exist counter cyclically.”

The company said it hoped for stronger free cash flows in the second half in posting an interim dividend of 5 cents fully franked.

John Pizzey will step down in December this after 3 years in the role and will be replaced by former AGL CEO Greg Martin.