BEIJING - China Minmetals, the country's largest metals trader, on Thursday reported a record high performance in 2010, with revenue touching 255 billion yuan ($39 billion) and profits hitting 7 billion yuan, due to surging metal prices backed by strong economic growth.
Zhou Zhongshu, president of Minmetals, said at the company's annual conference that the firm expects a better performance this year and aims to double its revenue and profits in the next five years.
It is also looking to become China's largest iron ore supplier in the next five years.
The upbeat figures contrasts with those of 2009 when most mining companies either suffered from declining profits or fell into the red due to the financial crisis that hit the metals market.
Metal prices rose in 2010 on the back of growing industry demand, driven by China's strong economic growth.
Zhou said the company would accelerate the development of its overseas projects. He said the company would speed up the exploration of its iron ore project in Mauritania of West Africa and finish the feasibility study of a chromite mine in Townlands, South Africa.
Minmetals has been active in overseas mining projects. The company's overseas subsidiary Minerals and Metals Group (MMG) serves as an international investment platform, and is planning more overseas mergers and acquisitions to bolster the company's raw-material supplies.
Minmetals paid $1.39 billion for zinc producer OZ Minerals in June 2009 to expand its presence overseas and secure raw materials.
Zhou said the company will acquire more rare earth, tungsten and antimony mines to enhance the proportion of upstream resources.
Minmetals' export and production of medium-heavy rare earth ranked top among its domestic peers in 2010, indicating the company's efforts to bolster rare earth resources. Rare earths, a group consisting of 17 elements, are widely used in many industrial products, from hybrid cars to missile-guidance systems.
The central government recently urged large companies to spearhead the consolidation of the scattered rare earths sector, cutting 123 rare earth mines to less than 10, as well as reducing the number of processing companies to 20 from 73.
Earlier, media reports said that State-owned companies including Minmetals, Chinalco, and China Nonferrous Metals are all looking to acquire rare earth mines in resource-rich provinces including Jiangxi, Guangdong and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
Minmetals said in December it will inject its main assets into a new umbrella company called China Minmetals Corporation Limited (CMCL) to accelerate the pace of its corporate restructuring.
The group will inject its ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, logistics, real estate, and science-tech divisions into CMCL, which is regarded as Minmetals' first move in restructuring and as a preparation for listing.
The Beijing-based company produces and trades metals and minerals, including steel, copper, aluminum, zinc and nickel. It is also engaged in finance, real estate and logistics.