UPDATE 2-Ferrexpo profit beats forecasts thanks to higher iron pellet premiums

miércoles 11 de marzo de 2015 07:33 GYT

* Maintains annual dividend at 13.2 cents per share

* Iron pellet prices healthier than iron ore fines

* Takes contingency measures to counter disruption from conflict

* Expects no power disruption through summer months (Adds CFO quotes, analyst)

By Silvia Antonioli

LONDON, March 11 (Reuters) - Ukrainian miner Ferrexpo said higher iron ore pellet premiums and lower production costs helped offset a steep fall in iron ore prices and limit the fall in its annual core profit to just 2 percent.

Benchmark iron ore prices fell 28 percent last year due to a supply glut and Ferrexpo said it expects 2015 prices to be "materially below" last year's average.

But the market for the higher-quality pellets that Ferrexpo mainly produces is far less oversupplied, with steady demand from steel mills, and premiums over the benchmark rose slightly in 2014.

The miner, which has so far experienced only minor disruptions due to the separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine, also benefited from higher sales volumes and a weaker local currency, as well as lower freight and energy costs.   Continuación...