Southern Copper Corporation ( SCCO Quick Quote SCCO - Free Report) reported third-quarter 2023 earnings of 80 cents per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of earnings of 77 cents per share. The bottom line improved 19% from the prior-year quarter, primarily driven by higher prices of molybdenum, silver and copper and higher molybdenum sales volumes. Net sales were $2,506 million, which marked a 16% improvement year over year. The top line surpassed the consensus estimate of $2,418 million. Revenues were primarily driven by higher prices for molybdenum (47.4%) silver (23.6%) and copper (8%). The company witnessed a 12.5% year-over-year increase in molybdenum sales volumes. This gain was offset by lower sales volumes of copper, silver and zinc, which declined 4.5%, 7.2% and 10.8% respectively. Operating cash cost per pound of copper (net of by-product revenue credits) was 98 cents in the quarter under review, down 5% from the year-ago quarter.
Cost of sales increased 3.3% year over year to $1,176 million in the third quarter of 2023. Total operating costs moved up 5% year over year to $1,436 million.
Operating profit in the third quarter was $1,069 million, reflecting a 36% year-over-year improvement. The operating margin in the reported quarter was 42.7% compared with 36.5% in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted EBITDA increased 27% year over year to $1,291 million in third-quarter 2023. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 51.5% compared with the year-ago quarter margin of 47.2%. Production Details Copper: SCCO mined 226,120 tons of copper in the reported quarter, down 2% year over year. The company reported lower production at the Peruvian mines, mainly due to lower grades at Cuajone. This was somewhat offset by improved production at the Toquepala mine due to better ore grades. Production at Mexican operations decreased 1.8% due to lower production at the Buenavista mine. Copper sales declined 4.5% year over year to 224,706 tons. Molybdenum: The company mined 6,859 tons of molybdenum in the reported quarter, reflecting a year-over-year improvement of 12.6% driven by higher output at the Toquepala, Buenavista and La Caridad mines. Molybdenum sales were 6,935 tons in the quarter under review compared with 6,164 tons in the third quarter of 2022. Zinc: The company’s zinc production rose 9.4% year over year to 16,281 tons in the quarter under review. Higher production at the Charcas and Santa Barbara units was mainly attributable to an increase in processed material. These results were partially offset by lower production at the San Martin mine due to lower ore milled. Zinc sales decreased 11% year over year to 24,883 tons in the third quarter of 2023. Silver: Southern Copper’s silver production declined 10% year over year to 4,390,000 ounces due to lower production at all operations, barring Toquepala. Sales were down 7% year over year to 4,421,000 ounces. Cash Flow & Balance Sheet
Southern Copper generated net cash from operating activities of $3 billion in the nine-month period ended Sep 30, 2023, up from $1.7 billion in the prior-year comparable period, attributable to higher metal prices and cost-control efficiencies. Cash and cash equivalents were $1.97 billion at the end of the third quarter of 2023 compared with $2.2 billion as of the end of the third quarter of 2022. Long-term debt was $6.25 billion as of Sep 30, 2023, flat compared with the debt balance as of Jun 30, 2022. SCCO made capital investments worth $753 million in the nine-month period ended Sep 30, 2023, 14.5% higher than the spending in the prior-year comparable period.
Shares of Southern Copper have gained 41.8% in the past year compared with the
industry’s 14.1% growth. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
Southern Copper currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks in the Basic Materials space are The Andersons Inc. ( ANDE Quick Quote ANDE - Free Report) , sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and WestRock Company ( WRK Quick Quote WRK - Free Report) and Koppers Holdings Inc. ( KOP Quick Quote KOP - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here The Zacks Consensus Estimate for ANDE's current-year earnings has been revised 3.3% upward in the past 90 days. Andersons beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the last four quarters. It delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 64.4%, on average. ANDE shares have rallied around 40.7% in a year. In the past 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for WestRock’s current fiscal year has been revised upward by 5.2%. WRK beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters while missing in one quarter, with the average earnings surprise being 30.7%. The company’s shares have rallied 4% in the past year. The consensus estimate for Koppers’ current fiscal year earnings is pegged at $4.45 per share, indicating year-over-year growth of 7.5%. KOP beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the last four quarters, with the average earnings surprise being 21.7%. The company’s shares have surged 45.6% in the past year.