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Altius cuts debt and implements its first ever dividend policy

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Altius Minerals (TSE:ALS) has introduced a dividend policy thanks to the company’s improving financial position from divestments and debt reductions.

The dividend will amount to an annual amount of C$0.08 per share, to be paid as $0.02 per share on a quarterly basis on its common shares to all shareholders of record at the close of business on April 7, 2015.

The new dividend policy is attributed to a C$35 million payment on its term debt facility, which has cut term debt to C$79 million from C$140 million less than a year ago, also reducing interest rates from 7.8% to 6.5% annually.

The lower debt levels are expected to boost annual pre-tax operating cash flow of C$3.8 million.

Moreover, in February, the company divested its holdings in Virginia Mines, earning proceeds of over C$41 million and allowing it to pay down debt related to the Prairies Royalties acquisition in April 2014.

"This in turn has allowed us to implement a dividend policy that we believe is not only sustainable but capable of growth going forward," said CFO Ben Lewis.

Altius’s executive chairman, John Baker, recognized that the company's board took the dividend decision thanks to an encouraging growth outlook.

"For the first time in our 17 year history of growth we are in a position to provide our shareholders with a dividend.

"The decision by the Board on a starting dividend was balanced and optimized in light of the many growth opportunities that our sector continues to offer up in this cyclical industry, while maintaining prudent leverage levels and other forms of shareholder capital return such as share buybacks."

Newfoundland-based Altius, which operates in the mining and resources sector, became a diversified mining royalty company after acquiring Callinan Royalties (TSE:CAA), which creates and acquires mineral royalties, in March.

The deal, which will be completed in the second quarter, is expected to strengthen Altius's balance sheet and diversify its royalty portfolio. Altius has current royalty interests in 12 Canadian mines, producing thermal and metallurgical coal, potash, nickel, copper and cobalt.

 

Quick facts: Altius Minerals Corporation

Price: 14.38 CAD

TSX:ALS
Market: TSX
Market Cap: $596.45 m
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