Mining dynasty to earn £53m dividend

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The Independent Online

The Luksic family is to collect $101m (£53m) in dividend payments from their shareholding in the London-listed miner Antofagasta, it emerged yesterday.

The Luksic family is to collect $101m (£53m) in dividend payments from their shareholding in the London-listed miner Antofagasta, it emerged yesterday.

The family's 64.85 per cent stake entitles them to the lion's share of the $155.8m in dividends that the company will pay out after a spectacular performance in 2004.

As a result of soaring prices for the two metals that Antofagasta mines in Chile, turnover last year was up 95 per cent at $1.9bn, while pre-tax profit soared 226 per cent to $1.2bn. The company announced it would pay a special dividend of 40 cents a share, on top of ordinary dividends, resulting in a total payout for the year of 79 cents a share - a 126 per cent increase on 2003.

Jean-Paul Luksic, the chairman, said: "This is another good set of results for Antofagasta reflecting very strong copper and molybdenum prices throughout 2004. Strong demand for metals has continued into 2005."

The price that Antofagasta realised for its copper production last year was 139.8 cents per pound, up 67 per cents, while the achieved price for by-product molybdenum, which is used in the production of steel, took off last year - it was up 264 per cent.

Mr Luksic, 40, succeeded his father Andronico Luksic as chairman last November. Andronico, who retired aged 78, is the son of a Croatian who emigrated to Chile in 1910 and turned an obscure company that listed in London in 1888 into a FTSE 100 group. Jean-Paul is the youngest of three sons.

On a less positive note, City analysts expressed concern yesterday that Antofagasta's future earnings would be hit by a greater-than-anticipated forecast for the forthcoming Chilean royalty rate and a delay in the expansion of its Los Pelambres copper mine.

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