Mining Downturn Hits Lab Testing Company

A downturn in mining activity has contributed to a 40 per cent fall in half year profit for laboratory services company ALS, but it expects earnings to grow in the current quarter.

The company provides analysis and testing of materials for clients in the mining, energy, industrial and environmental industries.

It made a net profit of $58 million in the six months to September, down from $98 million in the same period a year earlier.

The company's minerals division suffered a 38 per cent slump in underlying earnings, as sample volumes dropped because of less exploration work by mining companies, managing director Greg Kilmister said.

ALS' energy division also took a hit from lower volumes and prices in the coal industry, he said.

But the company's underlying profit for the first half of its fiscal year of $67.7 million, which excludes restructuring costs, was higher than it's forecast of $64 million.

ALS also expects its net profit in the three months to December to be around $40 million - higher than each of the first two quarters of its fiscal year, Mr Kilmister said.


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