Titanium and zircon miner Kenmare Resources has reported a 60% increase in profits after tax for the year to the end of December due to higher product prices.

Kenmare said its profits after tax rose to $206m from $128.5m in 2021, while it also reported an 18% increase in mineral product revenue to $498.4m from $420.5m.

The company said its board is recommending a 2022 dividend of 54.31 cents per share, up 66% from 32.71 cents per share for 2021.

Kenmare operates the Moma Titanium Minerals Mine in northern Mozambique and its products are used in such items as paints, plastics and ceramic tiles.

The company said its Heavy Mineral Concentrate (HMC) production increased 2% last year to 1,586,200 tonnes from 1,555,900 tonnes in 2021 on the back of higher excavated ore volumes mined.

But Ilmenite production decreased 3% to 1,088,300 tonnes from 1,119,400 tonnes in 2021.

The company said that shipments of finished products reached 1,075,600 tonnes in 2022, a 16% decrease compared to the record amount of product shipped in 2021 due to four months of planned maintenance on a transshipment vessel.

However, it noted that the fourth quarter of 2022 was the strongest quarter of the year for shipments and close to a record, with 365,700 tonnes shipped.

Kenmare said the first half of 2022 saw momentum continue from 2021 as pigment producers operated at close to full capacity and were constrained due to shortages of titanium feedstocks.

But pigment demand decreased throughout the year as the global economic outlook weakened and China's zero-Covid-19 policy muted industrial activity.

It said that pigment destocking and inflationary cost increases pressured producers' margins, forcing some producers to delay purchases, constrain production or idle pigment lines.

"We expect pigment stocks to have depleted in early 2023 with strong signs of increasing demand and the restarting of pigment lines," the company said.

"Despite increased pressure on the pigment market, Kenmare continued to see robust demand and in Q4 2022 achieved a ninth consecutive quarterly price increase for ilmenite," it added.

Michael Carvill, Kenmare's Managing Director, said that 2022 was a record year of financial performance for Kenmare, with its financial results driven by steady production volumes and record product prices.

"We are tracking within guidance for 2023, despite suffering an extremely severe lightning strike which halted production for an extended period in February, albeit towards the bottom end of our range for ilmenite and rutile," Mr Carville said.

"In 2023, the market for our products remains buoyant, although at marginally lower levels than the highs of Q3 2022, with strong customer demand for volume," he added.

He also noted that Kenmare moved to a net cash position of $27.5m at the end of 2022, which represents a $110.3m improvement over the 12 months.