Global Ferronickel downplays impact of China virus

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GLOBAL Ferronickel Holdings, Inc. believes its business deals with China would not be affected by the coronavirus outbreak as its shipments of nickel ore have not begun.

Dante R. Bravo, president of the listed nickel ore miner, said in a text message Thursday he is confident Global Ferronickel will proceed with its dealings with China regarding the exportation of ore.

“We have not yet started shipping, but we believe this coronavirus outbreak in China would have no impact on the demand side,” Mr. Bravo said.

“The start of our 2020 mining season is in April and we will start shipping by then,” he added when asked if the company is implementing preventive measures with China in relation to the health hazard.

Global Ferronickel said last year it was targeting to ship 5.7 million wet metric tons (WMT) of ore to China within 2019 as it signed a contract with a unit of China Baowu Steel Group for the sale of 1 million WMT of ore.


Mr. Bravo said Thursday all revenues of Global Ferronickel come from China, but since there are no shipments in the first quarter, the novel coronavirus is not seen to have adverse financial impact on the company.

Global Ferronickel is the second-largest nickel ore producer in the Philippines. Its earnings in the first nine months of 2019 jumped 36% to P812.540 million due to an increase in shipments of its medium-grade ore, comprising 58% or 2.689 million WMT of its total production.

Shares in the company at the stock exchange were flat on Thursday at P1.51 each.

The novel coronavirus, which has led to a health emergency in China, has so far killed 170 and infected 7,711 in the country, Reuters reported yesterday.

The Philippines also claimed yesterday its first confirmed case of novel coronavirus in a 38-year old Chinese woman that arrived on Jan. 21. The Health department said she came from Wuhan and is now confined in Manila.

There are 104 confirmed cases of coronavirus everywhere else, specifically in Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Macau, Australia, Malaysia, United States, France, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Germany, Canada, Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Finland.

While the World Health Organization is yet to declare a global health emergency on the novel coronavirus as of writing, its emergency committee is convening late Thursday, Manila time, to assess the rapid spread of the virus and make corresponding recommendations on how to manage it. — Denise A. Valdez