In a hectic week of financial reporting dominated by the world’s largest mining houses slashing their shareholder payouts and the Flying Kangaroo returning a record profit – if not all of its passengers’ bags – four home-grown WA stories led from the front when the talk of paying back cash to their owners turned to the walk.
Northern Star Resources (ASX: NST) and Mineral Resources (ASX: MIN) are long-term players and dividend payers and have set lofty expectations among shareholders of regular cash payouts.
Neither disappointed this week.
And it paved the way for newer dividend payer, Gold Road Resources (ASX: GOR), to again join the party while the below-the-radar Jupiter Mines (ASX: JMS) reminded its shareholders it had returned $348 million in cash in just the past five years.
On Monday Northern Star, the ASX’s second-largest gold producer, declared a record 11¢ per share fully franked dividend to share with its owners some of the profits generated across the three operating centres Kalgoorlie, Yandal and Pogo.
The Northern Star dividend was at the top end of the Super Pit owner’s policy to pay out between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of cash earnings. When it is paid on March 29, the interim dividend will bring to $1.1 billion the cash returned to Northern Star shareholders over the past decade.
Add to that a $300 million share buyback that is underway – and only 42 per cent complete – and it is easy to understand why Northern Star is the best-performing senior gold stock in the world based on total shareholder returns over the past year.
MinRes, the mining services pioneer turned lithium heavyweight, yesterday built on its standing as the second-best performing ASX 200 stock since the company listed on the bourse in 2006.
Having shelved its interim dividend last year amid a disappointing result coinciding with significant capital investment, MinRes is back on the payout trail and told shareholders to expect a $1.20 per share fully franked payment on March 30.
It raises an interesting question for those few Norwest Energy (ASX: NWE) shareholders who are yet to accept MinRes’ one-for-1300 scrip-swap takeover offer. The MinRes offer is due to close on March 2 though it can be extended – unlike the March 10 registration deadline for eligibility to MinRes’ interim dividend, which will require some speedy paperwork by those Norwest shareholders still holding out.
MinRes has already amassed a Norwest stake of about 63 per cent and is poised to begin integrating the target into its operations, starting with a board refresh.
If dividends are your goal, then the best chance Norwest’s minority shareholders will ever have of receiving one is to accept the takeover offer and become a MinRes shareholder.
Shareholders in Jupiter have long been used to regular dividends, courtesy of the Perth company’s 49.9 per cent stake in the world-class, profitable Tshipi manganese mine in South Africa’s Kalahari region. Jupiter makes its cash from Tshipi dividend payments as well as manganese marketing profits – and then returns cash to its own shareholders twice a year.
As the company reminded shareholders on Monday, when it announced a $29 million share of Tshipi’s final dividend for the financial year to February 28, Jupiter has paid its own shareholders $348 million in dividends since relisting on the ASX in 2018. It is a proud record that is set to continue.
Starting from scratch and finding something phenomenal and incredibly valuable has been achieved by only a small number of resources stocks listed on the ASX. The cohort able to share this value-creation with shareholders through consistent dividends is even smaller.
Gold Road shareholders are breathing this rarefied air, which was confirmed on Thursday when the mid-tier gold producer declared a 0.5¢ a share fully franked final dividend.
It brings to 1.5¢ per share the cash paid back to Gold Road shareholders in calendar 2022 and aligns with the company’s policy to return between 15 per cent and 30 per cent of free cash flow to investors.
Gold Road’s cash comes from its half-share in the Gruyere gold mine, in WA’s north-eastern Goldfields. Gold Road discovered this world-class gold deposit in 2013, brought in South Africa’s Gold Fields as a 50-50 partner in 2016, celebrated the first gold pour in 2019 and announced its maiden dividend exactly two years ago. It is a record that takes some beating.
Like its larger peer Northern Star, Gold Road balances dividends with keeping enough dry powder in the growth keg – in Gold Road’s case, the focus is on an extensive greenfields exploration portfolio across Australia as well as the progress De Grey Mining (ASX: DEG) is making with its Hemi gold project development. Gold Road owns 19.7 per cent of De Grey and considers Hemi the best gold discovery since … Gruyere.
Gold Road’s final dividend for 2022 will be paid on March 27 to shareholders who are on the register by March 2.