Bathurst Resources posts $188.9m loss

Bathurst Resources has posted a net loss of $188.9 million for the year to June 30, mainly due to writing down $449.9m on its Buller Coal Project.

Revenue from the company's domestic operations totalled $55.7m against overall operating expenses of $59.3m, resulting in an operating loss before tax of $3.6m.

The annual report showed Bathurst's cash had plummeted by $7m, to $5.5m.

Current liabilities exceeded assets by $900,000.

The budget for 2015 was based on increasing coal sales and an increased coal price, the report said. Bathurst expected domestic sales only and assumed no improvement in global export prices. It also assumed no significant operations at Buller's Escarpment Mine until the export price made the project viable.

The budget did not include a range of austerity measures that could be implemented to reduce cash spend if necessary.

"This includes further reduction in head office staffing, complete halt to exploration activity and deferral of future consenting costs."

Based on the information available, Bathurst directors believed the budget was a reasonable basis for continuing to operate as a going concern.

The report warned that a major commercial domestic sales contract expired in 2016. The contract allowed Bathurst to sell coal in the domestic market at a profit while international coal prices recovered.

Bathurst managing director Hamish Bohannan said the company was disappointed market conditions meant temporarily deferring its export Escarpment project.

"However, the result reflects the benefits of building a robust domestic business that can underpin the company until such time as Escarpment can ramp up to full production."

Bathurst was pleased to end the year with a cash positive quarter, Mr Bohannan said.

The current quarter was expected to show a small net cash outflow, due to seasonal slowing in the dairy sector. Bathurst expected to return to cash positive after that.

"In the meantime we are focused on developing Escarpment in preparation for an export market recovery."

By Lee Scanlon of the Westport News

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