May 15 (Reuters) - Vedanta Resources Plc reported an
8.5 percent drop in full-year core earnings, hit by lower copper
and zinc production, weak commodity prices and a ban on mining
iron ore in the Indian state of Goa.
Vedanta's stock fell as much as 4.5 percent to 941 pence in
early trading on Thursday, making it one of the biggest
percentage losers on the FTSE-250 Midcap Index.
The miner, majority owned by former scrap metal dealer Anil
Agarwal, said core earnings for the financial year ended March
31 fell to $4.49 billion. Revenue fell 11.6 percent to $12.95
Analysts on average expected the company to report revenue
of $13.16 billion and core earnings of $4.47 billion, according
to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Vedanta said the improvement of its copper business in
Zambia, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), was among its priorities for
the current year. Production of mined metal in Zambia fell 19.2
percent last year due to the temporary suspension of some mines.
The company also said it was working with the Goa state
government and India's Environment Ministry to restart its iron
ore operations in the state.
India's Supreme Court lifted a 19-month ban on mining iron
ore in Goa last month, although it capped annual output in the
state at 20 million tonnes.
Vedanta raised its final dividend to 39 cents from 37 cents
a year earlier.
(Reporting by Karen Rebelo in Bangalore; Editing by Robin