MMG's half-year loss doubles as COVID-19 hits commodity prices

Aug 19 (Reuters) - Australia-based copper miner MMG Ltd said on Wednesday its half-yearly loss nearly doubled as the COVID-19 outbreak hit commodity prices and sales, but said economic recovery in China should lead to a stronger second half.

The Hong Kong-listed company posted a half-yearly loss attributable to shareholders of $158 million, compared to an $81 million loss reported last year.

The company said “the current difficult situation is temporary” and was upbeat about the outlook for second-half of the year on the basis of expected demand from top copper buyer China.

“Although the aftermath of the pandemic is still unfolding, resulting in major uncertainties in the market in the short term, we are confident of overcoming the adverse impacts of the pandemic,” Guo Wenqing, Chairman, said in a statement.

In April this year, the company withdrew its 2020 production guidance for the Las Bambas copper mine in Peru, among the world’s biggest, citing coronavirus-related headwinds.

MMG said its half-year revenue dropped 14% year-on-year to $1.19 billion.

Earlier in the day, the company said around 20 staff from its parent, state-owned China Minmetals Corp, were being transferred to MMG’s new office in Beijing to set up a marketing presence in China. (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; editing by Barbara Lewis)