Rana Gruber anticipates European improvement, courts new customer

Rana Gruber anticipates a pick-up in European bookings after several of its largest customers completed extensive maintenance programmes. The Norwegian iron ore miner sent a cargo in January to a potential new European customer. Port inventory levels in China meanwhile reportedly remain at their lowest in several years, the firm notes.

In the fourth quarter of 2023, Rana Gruber increased hematite concentrate sales 9% on-year to 406,000 tonnes, but overall iron ore concentrate production, including magnetite, fell 1.7% to 452,000t, Kallanish notes.

Q4 included a maintenance stop of one week, longer than the year before. The firm says the stop was a crucial part of its strategic project to increase magnetite production. As it now slowly shifts to areas in the mine with more rich magnetite deposits, the firm is positioned to produce higher volumes of magnetite.

Iron ore prices remain elevated, driven by factors such as China’s stimulus measures and optimistic expectations for a recovery in steel demand. Lower port inventories, potential supply disruptions in Western Australia, and conservative production estimates contribute to the positive market sentiment, the firm says.

Q4 revenue surged 62% on-year to NOK 620.2 million ($59m), but net profit dropped 35% to NOK 174.6m due mainly to value adjustments of hedging of iron ore.

In full-year 2023 the miner reported hematite sales increased 11% on-year to 1.69 million tonnes, with magnetite sales up 13% to 106,000t. Overall concentrate output was up 5% to 1.82mt. Revenue surged 36% to NOK 1.93 billion and net profit inched up 1% to NOK 489.8m.

Adam Smith Poland