The first half of 2020 has been difficult for everyone, but Iofina’s performance has been solid in spite of the difficult events affecting the world

CEO Tom Becker 


What does the company do?

Put simply, Iofina PLC (LON:IOF) extracts iodine from brine water, a byproduct of onshore oil and gas production in the US.

The company is the second-largest producer of iodine in North America and comprises three entities: Iofina Resources, Iofina Chemical and IofinaEX.

The AIM-listed group‘s strategy is to identify, develop, build, own and operate iodine extraction plants based on its well-head extraction technology.

IofinaEX has been set up to produce cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive ingredient of cannabis.

How’s Iofina performing?

In a July update, the company said its performance in the first half has been “solid in spite of the difficult events affecting the world” as it updated on production from its iodine plants during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The group said it produced 284.4 metric tonnes (MT) of crystalline iodine in the first half of 2020, in line with the 286.7 MT produced a year earlier.

Iofina said its IO#8 plant had reopened in late June after shutting down in May and it expects the plant to run throughout the second half of the year and beyond alongside its four other iodine production facilities.

With all five plants running as normal, the firm expects iodine production for the second half to be between 340-360 MT, noting that prices had remained “encouragingly” steady at US$35 per kilo or above in the second quarter of 2020 and into the third.

Meanwhile, Iofina said it is monitoring its hemp seed joint venture (JV) with Organic Vines, saying seed sales from suppliers across the US have been much lower than expected due to the coronavirus combined with a lack of a comprehensive USA hemp crop insurance program available to all farmers.

Planting in the US this year declined nearly 60% year-on-year, the company said, with seed sales from the JV through its partner expected to be much lower than expected. While it is not clear when the sales will complete, they are expected to continue into 2021 with a “significant portion” likely to be sold to international markets.

In August, the company also reported “continued positive progress” regarding its debt refinancing with a new US lender.

What the CEO says, Tom Becker

“The first half of 2020 has been difficult for everyone, but Iofina’s performance has been solid in spite of the difficult events affecting the world. Iodine prices have remained robust and our production levels compare well with 2019 and, with IO#8 now online, [second half] 2020 iodine production is expected to surpass [first half] 2020 production totals.”

What the broker says

In a note on August 26, analysts at house broker finnCap retained their 32p price target on the firm, saying a “near-term conclusion to the debt refinancing will allow management and investors to focus again on the strong growth potential and fundamentals underpinning its core iodine business”, which they said had been largely unaffected by the coronaviurs pandemic.

Inflexion points

  • Iodine prices stable
  • The CBD business – although broker finnCap cautions it is “still early days” for the new division.
  • Positive developments from debt financing negotiations