Iofina plc (LON:IOF) had a strong second half to what was a record-breaking year in 2018 in terms of crystalline iodine production.
The group produced 324.7 tonnes of crystalline iodine in the second half of last year, up 21% from 267.5 tonnes in the corresponding period of 2017.
That took the full-year production level up to 588.8 tonnes, up 17% on 2017’s 503 tonnes.
Both the half-year and full-year output numbers represent records for the group, despite operating only four iodine production plants in the period.
The company said the success of the new IO#7 facility, which opened in February 2018, was largely responsible for the record-busting performance.
The company intends to replicate the success of IO#7 at new sites and the sourcing of suitable locations for further plants will continue to be a priority in 2019.
The group has decided not to reopen the IO#5 facility at the current site but as it has done successfully in the past, it will cannibalise the parts for use in future production locations.
Iofina expects to produce between 310-330 tonnes of crystalline iodine in the first half of the year, and as usual, the production will likely be weighted to the second quarter.
Continuing the trend from early 2017, iodine prices continue to rise, Iofina noted. Iodine prices started 2018 near US$24/kg and now in early 2019, large volume sales are generally in the range of US$26-27/kg.
Iofina expects iodine prices to increase further in 2019 as global demand continues to increase in both current and emerging applications. As a low-cost iodine producer and iodine derivative manufacturer, Iofina stands to benefit from any increases in iodine prices, it said.
''I am delighted with the group's improved performance in 2018, in which we produced a record amount of iodine and successfully increased output whilst reducing the overall cost of production. Meanwhile, the restructuring of debt remains a priority for us and we are making good progress towards its conclusion,” revealed Dr Tom Becker, the president and chief executive officer of Iofina.
"We enter the new year in a strong position, seeing strong growth across the group. We are confident that this momentum can be maintained and that 2019 profitability will continue to improve in line with the iodine price," he added.