Polish JSW beats forecasts with 2017 profit, but suspends dividend

WARSAW, March 12 (Reuters) – JSW, the European Union’s biggest coking coal producer, said on Monday its 2017 net profit jumped to 2.54 billion zlotys ($745.31 million) from 6.7 million zlotys a year earlier, driven by a 65 percent rise in the average coking coal price.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected state-run JSW to report a net profit of 2.41 billion zlotys for 2017 and 620 million zlotys for the fourth quarter, which according to a Reuters calculation, stood at 748 million zlotys.

Despite earlier management board suggestions, JSW said it planned to suspend its dividend and will not pay one from last year’s profit as it needed to rebuild its supplementary capital which has shrunk in recent years.

JSW had said its policy was to spend at least 30 percent of the group’s annual profit on dividends.

“The management will not recommend paying out dividend for the financial year that ended on December 31,” JSW said in a statement.

JSW also said its coal output amounted at 14.8 million tonnes, which included 10.7 million tonnes of coking coal and 4.1 million tonnes of thermal coal.

($1 = 3.4080 zlotys)

(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by David Evans)

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