Article by Sean Smith courtesy of the West Australian
Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting has recorded WA’s biggest profit by a private company, making a whopping $2.6 billion last financial year on the back of stronger iron ore prices.
The profit was double Hancock’s result the previous year when it made $1.37 billion, according to filings yesterday with the corporate regulator.
The Perth-based company’s assets are anchored by a 70 per cent stake in the big Roy Hill iron ore mine, 340km south-east of Port Hedland, but also include Ms Rinehart’s extensive cattle operations and property and sharemarket investments.
Typically for a private company, the filing provided little commentary about the year to June 30.
However, increased prices for Roy Hill’s iron ore are believed to have driven the surge in Hancock’s revenue from $5.8 billion to $8.4 billion.
The result supported another big dividend payout of $483 million, though that was down from the previous year’s $528 million and less than half of the $1.24 billion in dividends pocketed by Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest for the year.
Ms Rinehart is already WA’s richest person, topping the West Australian rich list with $15.7 billion in wealth, up from $12.9 billion in 2018.
Even allowing for the dividend payments, the Hancock result was so good that the company also managed to repay $US600 million of debt last month and put aside another $US400 million for a further repayment in January.
In addition, it took control of Canadian coal group Riversdale Resources via a $744 million buyout, finalised its $441 million takeover of iron ore junior Atlas Iron and pumped $US250 million into UK fertiliser play Sirius Minerals.
As at June 30, the company had $5.5 billion of debt, including $1.05 billion classified as current, and $3.2 billion of cash, down from $4.2 billion previously.