NICKEL ASIA Corp. swung to profitability in the first quarter after posting a P584.1 million attributable net income, mainly due to the higher ore selling prices.

The listed company said in a stock exchange disclosure on Thursday that its net income during the January to March period is a reversal of the P89.34 million net loss it had in 2020.

Its revenues increased 43.4% to P3.17 billion from P2.21 billion the previous year, while its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) increased 110% to P1.69 billion from P804 million.

In the first three months, Nickel Asia said it sold a total of 2.82 million wet metric tons (WMT) of ore at an average realized price of $20.64 per WMT, an improvement from the 2.78 million WMT priced at $12.97 per WMT in the same quarter last year.

Broken down, the company said it exported 845,000 WMT of saprolite and limonite ore at $44.86 per WMT for the period, an increase from the 702,000 WMT at $28.67 per WMT in 2020.

Nickel Asia said it also delivered 1.98 million WMT of limonite ore to the plants of Coral Bay Nickel Corp. and Taganito HPAL Nickel Corp. at an average realized price of $7.96 per pound of payable nickel, higher than the 2.08 million WMT at $5.80 per pound of payable nickel the year earlier.

“As a result of higher London Metal Exchange (LME) prices, the company recognized gain from its equity share in its investments in the two HPAL plants in the amount of P115 million in the first quarter of 2021 compared to a loss of P10 million in the same period last year,” Nickel Asia said.

“The realized Peso to US Dollar exchange rate for ore sales was P48.41 compared to P50.85 in the prior year,” it added.

Martin Antonio G. Zamora, Nickel Asia president and chief executive officer, said the nickel price on the LME sustained its momentum from last year.

“This was both supply-driven, because of the Indonesian ore export ban, and demand-driven, due to the upgrading of forecasts with respect to the electric vehicle market,” Mr. Zamora said in the disclosure.

“On our renewable energy business, we are pleased to announce the completion and electrification of Phase 3A of our Subic solar project, increasing our solar plant capacity from 32 megawatts to 62 megawatts as of April 9, 2021,” he added.

On Thursday, shares of Nickel Asia at the stock exchange fell 1.08% or six centavos to end at P5.47 apiece. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave