S&P/ ASX200 star Fortescue Metals provides trading update

One of the S&P/ ASX200’s (ASX: XJO) best-performing businesses over the last year in Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) this morning provided an operating update for the quarter ending March 31 2019.

Fortescue’s management reconfirmed full year guidance for it to ship between a total of 165 million to170 million tonnes of iron ore at an average c1 cash or production cost per tonne of US$13.50 on an average strip ratio of 1.5.

It also flagged that it will invest US$1.2 billion over the year on new projects including its share of the Iron Bridge Magnetite Project for fiscal 2019.

In total the Iron Bridge Magnetite Project is expected to cost US$2.6 billion and will be completed in a joint venture partnership with Formosa Steel, with Fortescue expected to tip in US$2.1 billion as its share of the costs.

The stock is up 75% over the past year alone as the resurgent iron ore price and rising operating cash flows have also allowed it to pay down what was a giant debt pile.

As at quarter end gross debt stood at US$4 billion with cash on hand of US$1.1 billion to produce net debt of US$2.9 billion. The deleveraging of the balance sheet and rising dividends combining to fuel investor interest.

Others in the iron ore space to have enjoyed a bumper year include Rio Tinto Limited (ASX: RIO) and BHP Billiton Limited (ASX: BHP).

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