Vanadium miner Bushveld Minerals PLC (LON:BMN) saw its sales and revenues soar in 2018 as the price of the steel additive shot higher.
The metal is also seen as a potential electrolyte for batteries and excitement over this application, coupled with supply issues in China helped the price jump by 149% over the year.
Even though production at the Vametco mine eased slightly to 2,560 metric tonnes, Bushveld's revenues climbed to US$192mln (US$3mln), while pre-tax profits rocketed to US$86.6mln compared to a loss of US$900,000.
Power storage is a key area for Bushveld, which is working with South Africa’s state power utility Eskom to develop a workable vanadium redox battery.
Since the year-end, the company also announced the US$68mln acquisition of Vanchem, which has processing capability in South Africa and is a specialist in vanadium-based compounds.
Fortune Mojapelo, Bushveld's chief executive, said: "Following the refurbishment programme at Vanchem and the expansion programme underway at Vametco, the company will have created a portfolio of processing assets capable of supplying approximately 10% of the global vanadium market.
“This was acquired for less than 40% of the estimated US$500mln replacement cost and used cash generated by the same assets for nearly half (US$100mln) of the cost of creating that capacity.”
Bushveld also said while it was not paying a dividend in 2018, going forward it would consider payments based on free cash-flow.