RIO DE JANEIRO, April 26 (Reuters) – Vale SA, the world’s top iron ore producer, expects iron ore prices no lower than $70 per tonne this year and will hand out $1 billion in dividends each quarter this year if conditions remain similar ahead, executives said on Thursday.
The dividend policy “was constructed to work in any price scenario. That means this policy is here to stay,” Chief Executive Officer Fabio Schvartsman said on a conference call, adding that a $1 billion dividend payout was already guaranteed for the second quarter.
The comments came a day after Vale reported a first-quarter slide in profit of 36 percent on higher costs and lower iron ore prices. Vale still promised a minimum payout of $1 billion in dividends for the quarter to be paid later this year.
Vale executives also said they hoped to find a partner for the struggling New Caledonia nickel mine by the end of the year, but it was not clear whether the world’s largest nickel producer would continue nickel operations there.
Executives said they were not satisfied with nickel prices, but said that the metal would become an industry motor when electric vehicles become a reality.