QUOTE AND NEWS
SeekingAlpha  May 29  Comment 
Benzinga  May 19  Comment 
The Vetr crowd upgraded its rating for Vale SA (ADR) (NYSE: VALE) on Friday from 4 stars (Buy), issued four days ago, to 5 stars (Strong Buy). Crowd sentiment at the time of the upgrade was largely positive, with 90 percent of Vetr user ratings...




 

Vale S.A. (NYSE: VALE) is one of the largest global mining companies. The company is present in 13 Brazilian states and in 32 countries, in five continents, and is a world leader in iron ore[1] and pellets production and commercialization, besides owning the largest nickel reserves of the planet. Vale is also a very important global producer of copper, coal, bauxite, alumina, Aluminum Prices, potassium, kaolin, manganese and ferroligas concentrate.

Vale operates large logistics systems in Brazil, including railroads, maritime terminals and a port, which are integrated with its mining operations. Directly and through affiliates and joint ventures, it has investments in the energy and steel businesses. Its principal nickel mines and processing operations are conducted by its wholly owned subsidiary Vale Inco Limited (Vale Inco), which has mining operations in Canada, Indonesia and New Caledonia. It owns and operates nickel refining facilities in the United Kingdom, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and China. The Company is engaged in bauxite mining, alumina refining, and aluminum metal smelting.[2]

In March 2009, the Company sold its stake in Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA. In September 2009, Rio Tinto Limited completed the sale of its Corumba iron ore mine in Brazil and the associated river logistics operations to Vale S.A.[2]

Company Overview

Business and Financial Metrics

Second Quarter 2010 Results[3]

Vale reported operating revenue for the second quarter of 2010 of $9.9 billion, 45.0% more than the $6.8 billion reported in Q1 2010. Operating income, as measured by adjusted EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes), was $4.6 billion in Q2 2010, 124.5% above the first quarter of 2010. Vale's operating margin, as measured by adjusted EBIT margin, increased to 47.9% in Q2 2010 from 31.2% in Q1 2010. Vale reported net earnings of $3.7 billion, equal to $0.70 per share on a fully diluted basis, compared to $1.6 billion in Q1 2010.

Business Segments

Ferrous minerals[2]

Vale is the world's largest producer of iron ore, having some 420 million tonnes per year of iron ore production capacity - well ahead of Rio Tinto (the world number two producer of iron ore) with 274 million tonnes per year, or BHP Billiton Group (the world number three) with 188 million tonnes per year of capacity.

The Company operates three systems in Brazil for producing and distributing iron ore. The Northern and the Southeastern Systems are fully integrated, consisting of mines, railroads, a maritime terminal and a port. The Southern System consists of three mining complexes and two maritime terminals. It operates 10 pellet-producing plants in Brazil. It also has a 50% stake in a joint venture that owns three integrated pellet plants in Brazil and a 25% stake in a pellet company in China. It conducts its manganese mining operations through subsidiaries in Brazil, and it produces several types of manganese ferroalloys through subsidiaries in Brazil, France and Norway.

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Coal[2]

Vale S.A. produces metallurgical and thermal coal through Vale Australia Holdings (Vale Australia), which operates coal assets in Australia through wholly owned subsidiaries and unincorporated joint ventures. Through its subsidiary Vale Coal Colombia Ltd. Sucursal Colombia (Vale Colombia) it produces thermal coal in the Cesar department of Colombia. It has minority interests in Chinese coal and coke producers.

Logistics services[2]

The Company is a provider of logistics services in Brazil, with railroads, maritime terminals and a port. Two of its three iron ore systems incorporate an integrated railroad network linked to automated port and terminal facilities, which provide rail transportation for its mining products, general cargo and passengers, bulk terminal storage, and ship loading services for its mining operations and for customers. It conducts seaborne dry bulk shipping and provides tug boat services. It own and charter vessels to transport its iron ore sold on a cost and freight (CFR) basis to customers.

Vale S.A. also owns a 31.3% interest in Log-In Logistica Intermodal S.A. (Log-In), which provides intermodal logistics services in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, and a 41.5% interest in MRS Logistica S.A. (MRS), which transports its iron ore products from the Southern System mines to its Guaiba Island and Itaguai maritime terminals, in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

Trends and Forces

Government incentives

The U.S. has established the “cash for clunkers” program to support production in the auto sector. The European Union has also adopted programs that incentivize auto production. The Chinese government has provided a stimulus package for the infrastructure and construction sector. In Brazil there has been a reduction in the tax on industrialized products and improvement in credit conditions.[4]

Shifting demands for mined products

Nickel demand continues to grow in the Chinese market. Demand will continue to grow because of declining scrap availability and higher austenic ratio.

Steel demand has increased because of better than expected economic improvements, government incentives and end of destocking process in various nations.

Iron ore market: Brazil and the U.S. show higher domestic demand for iron ore which means supply of seaborne ore will decrease. Lead times and the Indian monsoon period will affect short term production capabilities.[5]

Value added

The prices of steel products[6] can be some five or more times higher than the price of iron ore[7]. Therefore, the value added [and consequent profitability] of steel production can be much higher than that in iron ore mining operations. Some difference between Vale's emphasis on iron ore mining (preferred by former CEO Agnelli) and the opportunity for the business to produce more steel (an emphasis preferred by the Brazilian Government) reportedly led to sacking of CEO Agnelli in March 2011, because of Agnelli's apparent reluctance to move Vale downstream towards greater steel making[8]. This illustrates an important commercial pressure on iron ore miners such as Value, BHP, Rio Tinto and others; which is to increasingly move further downstream in the pursuit of greater value added.

Competition

The Company competes with JSC MMC Norilsk Nickel (NILSY), Jinchuan Nonferrous Metals Corporation, BHP Billiton (BHP) and Xstrata (LON:XTA), Alcoa (AA), Rusal, Rio Tinto (RIO), Chalco, Norsk Hydro ASA (NHY-OS), Codelco, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX), Aurubis, Jiangxi Copper -H- (HKG:358), PT Bumi Resources Tbk., Anglo Coal, Drummond Gold (ASX:DGO), Teck Cominco -a- (BER:TPT), Peabody Energy (BTU) and the China Shenhua Energy Company (HKG:1088).

References

  1. World's largest producers of iron ore - current ranking
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Reuters: Vale Company Profile
  3. Vale Investor Relations: "Performance of Vale in 2Q10" July 29, 2010
  4. http://www.vale.com/vale_us/media/Presentation_Investor%20tour.pdf
  5. http://www.vale.com/vale_us/media/Presentation_Investor%20tour.pdf
  6. Current steel price levels
  7. The steel value added chain
  8. Vale CEO Agnelli to depart
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