Top performers in Queensland

Deloitte Queensland Energy & Resources Index ranks strong QLD performers.

The inaugural Deloitte Queensland Energy & Resources Index, launched yesterday, has revealed that Queensland energy and resources companies are solidly outperforming the QLD Stock market, particularly in the material and energy sectors, according to Deloitte Corporate Finance Partner, Robin Polson.

The Deloitte Qld ER Index monitors the performance of 70 QLD energy and resources companies on an annual, six monthly and quarterly basis.

The Index analysis has focused on active stocks, as the delisting of Queensland Gas Company Limited (QGC) and Sunshine Gas Limited (Sunshine Gas) distorted and decreased the absolute value of the Index by $6.6 billion.

The first edition has found that when not taking into account the acquisition and delisting of Queensland Gas Company Limited (QGC) and Sunshine Gas Limited (Sunshine Gas) in December, the market capitalisations of QLD Energy and Resources companies increased by 9.8% ($2.3 billion) in the March quarter, compared to the Deloitte QLD Stock Index which saw a marginal 0.8% increase over the same period.

Strong performers by increase in market capitalisation during the March quarter:

Lihir Gold Limited (LGL)

PanAust Limited (PanAust)

New Hope Corporation Limited (New Hope).

LGL debuted at number one on the Deloitte Qld ER Index. LGL’s market capitalisation enjoyed a successful March quarter, increasing 17.5% or $1.2 billion.

The gold price increased from $US881.5 per ounce to $US925.0 per ounce (4.9%) across the quarter with the ongoing uncertainty in global financial markets.

Some movement in LGL’s stock occurred following a $515 million capital raising to fast track its Lihir Island process plant. Results for the fourth quarter of 2008 came late in January 2009, with LGL reporting a 25.8% rise in gold output after the acquisition of several mines during the year. This also led to a 554% increase in net profit to $US109 million.

New Hope debuted at number two on the Deloitte Qld ER Index. New Hope’s market capitalisation increased by $292 million or 10.5% in the three months ended 31 March 2009.

Mid to late March was a positive time for the company after it announced a net profit for the six months ended 31 January 2009 of $1.8 billion, up from $36 million in the corresponding period in 2008. This followed the sale of the New Saraji project to BHP Billiton Limited and Mitsubishi Corporation Limited for $2.5 billion.

In the same period, sales rose from $148 million to $308 million (107.0%) benefiting from strong 2008 coal prices. Net profit from operations rose $96 million to $133 million.

Up until March, the share price showed weakness as concerns about demand for thermal coal continued.

New Hope saw a small decrease in February, after announcing coal sold during the six months to 31 January 2009 had fallen 2.0% to 2.3 million tonnes.

PanAust debuted at number eight on the Deloitte Qld ER Index.

PanAust had a strong March quarter, with its market capitalisation increasing by $380 million or 310.6%.

Industry movements

On an industry basis during the March quarter, the energy sector experienced the largest decrease on the Deloitte Qld ER Index, decreasing by $5.8 billion (39.5%).

Once the effect of the delisting of QGC and Sunshine Gas was excluded, the energy sector experienced an increase of $820 million or 5.6%.

By way of comparison, the utilities sector decreased by $136 million (2.8%), and the materials sector gained $1.7 billion (19.7%).

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