Date: August 14 2012
BIG investors such as Commonwealth Bank, BlackRock and Fidelity have given Newcrest Mining boss Greg Robinson no explanation for trimming their stakes in his company.
Despite retaining the three biggest holdings in Newcrest, the institutions last year quietly pruned their exposure to Australia's biggest listed goldminer as the stock slumped badly.
''It's very difficult to get a consistent view from any institution on why they are buying or selling,'' Robinson said yesterday, in reference to the multiple funds those large institutions operate. ''We just talk about the business; they make their decisions to buy or sell.''
But as he spruiked a five-year plan for Newcrest to the investment community, Robinson had a firm view about how the big institutions - and other shareholders - might be won back to the fold.
''The way we look to gain shareholder confidence is through the reliability and predictability of the business, and that has been a challenging aspect,'' he said.
''There has been a lot of missed guidance in the sector and I think that's had a negative impact.''
Notorious for missing targets, Newcrest has given itself a good chance of meeting guidance in the future, offering conservative forecasts for gold production on both one-year and five-year horizons.
After producing 2.28 million ounces of gold in the trouble-prone year to June 30, Newcrest predicted that production would be little improved, offering a guidance range between 2.3 and 2.5 million ounces for 2013.
That cautious forecast came despite the company's two big growth projects - Lihir and Cadia East - being expected to come into production in December.
Newcrest has also scaled back its 2017 production target from 4 million ounces to between 3.1 and 3.5 million ounces.
If Newcrest is attempting to change its culture from underperformer to overdeliverer, it made a good start yesterday by beating expectations with a record annual profit of $1.12 billion for the year to June 30.
The profit came with a 23¢ dividend, which - combined with February's 12¢ interim dividend - means shareholders will take home 35¢ a share for the 2012 financial year.
The company did not offer a ''special dividend'', but Robinson indicated one could be granted if cash flows were strong in the months ahead.
The shares closed up $1.07 at $25.40.
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