Vedanta's earnings hit by lower metal production, prices

Reuters
An employee unloads copper at a factory in Nantong
An employee unloads copper at a factory in Nantong, Jiangsu province, June 18, 2011. REUTERS/China Daily/Files

(Reuters) - Vedanta Resources Plc reported an 8.5 percent drop in full-year core earnings, hit by lower copper and zinc production, weak commodity prices and a ban on mining iron ore in the Indian state of Goa.

Vedanta's stock fell as much as 4.5 percent to 941 pence in early trading on Thursday, making it one of the biggest percentage losers on the FTSE-250 Midcap Index.

The miner, majority owned by former scrap metal dealer Anil Agarwal, said core earnings for the financial year ended March 31 fell to $4.49 billion. Revenue fell 11.6 percent to $12.95 billion. [ID:nRSO1634Ha]

Analysts on average expected the company to report revenue of $13.16 billion and core earnings of $4.47 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Vedanta said the improvement of its copper business in Zambia, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), was among its priorities for the current year. Production of mined metal in Zambia fell 19.2 percent last year due to the temporary suspension of some mines.

The company also said it was working with the Goa state government and India's Environment Ministry to restart its iron ore operations in the state.

India's Supreme Court lifted a 19-month ban on mining iron ore in Goa last month, although it capped annual output in the state at 20 million tonnes. [ID:nL3N0ND1S6]

Vedanta raised its final dividend to 39 cents from 37 cents a year earlier. [ID:nRSO1636Ha]