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Silvercorp Net Income $43.7 Million, $0.26 Per Share, For Fiscal 2017

Silvercorp Metals Inc.
|
Friday, May 26th

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – May 25, 2017 Silvercorp Metals Inc. (“Silvercorp” or the “Company”) (TSX: SVM) (NYSE: SVM) reported its financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and twelve months ended March 31, 2017.  All amounts are expressed in US Dollars.

FISCAL YEAR 2017 HIGHLIGHTS

  • Net income attributable to equity shareholders of $43.7 million, or $0.26 per share1, up 589% compared to net income attributable to equity shareholders of $6.3 million, or $0.04 per share in the prior year. Adjusted net income2 attributable to equity shareholders of $38.6 million or $0.23 per share, up 509% from the prior year after adjustment to one-time net impairment reversal of $5.1 million;
  • Silver, lead, and zinc metals sold up 29%, 34%, and 5%, respectively from the prior year, to approximately 6.5 million ounces silver, 70.5 million pounds lead, and 18.3 million pounds zinc;
  • Silver production of approximately 6.4 million ounces, surpassing the Fiscal 2017 annual production guidance by 25%;
  • Sales of $163.5 million, up 51% compared to $107.9 million in the prior year;
  • A 12%, 16%, and 15% increase in the head grades of silver, lead, and zinc compared to the prior year; 
  • Gross margin of 54% compared with 33% in the prior year;
  • Cash flow from operations of $80.4 million, an increase of $48.5 million compared to $31.9 million in the prior year;
  • Cash production costs per tonne ore2 decreased by 11% to $59.84 from $67.39 in the prior year;
  • Cash costs per ounce of silver2, net of by-product credits, of negative $3.03, compared to $1.44 in the prior year;
  • All-in sustaining costs per ounce of silver2, net of by-product credits, of $3.82, compared to $10.20 in the prior year; and
  • Ended the fiscal year with $96.5 million in cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments, an increase of $34.5 million or 56% compared to $62.0 million as at March 31, 2016.


HIGHLIGHTS FOR THE FOURTH QUARTER FISCAL 2017 ("Q4 FISCAL 2017")

  • Net income attributable to equity shareholders was $13.5 million, or $0.08 per share in Q4 Fiscal 2017, compared to the loss of $1.5 million, or $0.01 per share in Q4 Fiscal 2016. Adjusted net income attributable to equity shareholders of $8.2 million, or $0.05 per share after adjustment to one-time impairment reversal of $5.3 million;
  • Silver and lead metals sold up 34% and 53%, respectively from the prior year quarter, to approximately 1.3 million ounces silver and 14.3 million pounds lead;
  • Sales of $34.1 million, up 75% compared to $19.4 million in Q4 Fiscal 2016;
  • Gross margin of 60% compared with 32% in the prior year;
  • Cash costs per ounce of silver, net of by-product credits, of negative $3.65, compared to $2.22 in the prior year;
  • All-in sustaining costs per ounce of silver, net of by-product credits, of $3.26, compared to $9.91 in the prior year.

_____________________________________

1

Earnings per share refers to basic earnings per share

2

Non IFRS measure, please see reconciliation on section 11 of MD&A for the corresponding period

FINANCIALS

1.   Fiscal 2017 vs. Fiscal 2016

Net income attributable to the shareholders of the Company in Fiscal 2017 was $43.7 million, or $0.26 per share, up 589% compared to $6.3 million, or $0.04 per share in Fiscal 2016. The adjusted net income attributable to the shareholders of the Company was $38.6 million, or $0.23 per share, up 509% compared to $6.3 million, or $0.04 per share in the prior year.

In the current fiscal year, the Company's financial results were mainly impacted by the following: i) improved head grades yielded higher silver, lead, and zinc metals sold, up 29%, 34%, and 5% respectively; ii) a 9% decrease in per tonne ore production costs; and iii) the increase of metals prices, as the realized selling price for silver, lead, and zinc increased by 15%, 21%, and 33% compared to the prior year, respectively.  

Sales in Fiscal 2017 were $163.5 million, up 51% compared to $107.9 million in Fiscal 2016.  Silver and gold sales represented $89.6 million and $3.3 million, respectively, while base metals represented $70.6 million of total sales compared to silver, gold and base metals of $60.6 million, $1.9 million, and $45.4 million, respectively, in Fiscal 2016.

Cost of sales in Fiscal 2017 was $75.3 million compared to $71.9 million in Fiscal 2016.  The cost of sales included $57.6 million (Fiscal 2016 - $54.5 million) cash costs, $17.7 million (Fiscal 2016 - $17.3 million) depreciation, amortization and depletion charges, and a $nil write down of inventories (Fiscal 2016 - $0.2 million). 

Gross profit in Fiscal 2017 was 54% compared to 33% in Fiscal 2016. The improvement of gross profit margin was mainly due to: i) a 12%, 16%, and 15% increase in the head grades of silver, lead, and zinc; ii) a 9% decrease in per tonne ore production costs; and iii) the increase of metal prices. Ying Mining District's gross margin was 57% compared to a 38% gross profit margin in the prior year, while GC Mine's profit margin was 31% compared to a 10% gross profit margin in the prior year.

Cash flows provided by operating activities in Fiscal 2017 were $80.4 million, an increase of $48.5 million or 152%, compared to $31.9 million in the prior year.  Before changes in non-cash operating working capital, cash flows provided by operating activities in Fiscal 2017 were $76.0 million, an increase of $42.8 million or 129%, compared to $33.1 million in the prior year mainly due to the improvement of operating earnings.

The Company ended the fiscal year with $96.5 million in cash and short term investments, an increase of $34.5 million or 56% compared to $62.0 million as at March 31, 2016.

Working capital as at March 31, 2017 was $70.7 million, an increase of $35.5 million or 101%, compared to $35.2 million working capital as at March 31, 2016.

2.   Q4 Fiscal 2017 vs. Q4 Fiscal 2016

Net income attributable to equity shareholders of the Company in Q4 Fiscal 2017 was $13.5 million, or $0.08 per share compared to a loss of $1.5 million, or $0.01 per share in Q4 Fiscal 2016 while the adjusted net income attributable to the equity shareholders of the Company in Q4 Fiscal 2017 was $8.2 million, or $0.05 per share. 

The Company's financial results in Q4 Fiscal 2017 were mainly impacted by the following: i) more lead concentrate sold at the Ying Mining District, resulted in higher quantities of silver and lead metals being sold, up 34% and 53%, respectively; ii) a 19% decrease in per tonne ore production costs; iii) due to the annual Chinese New Year holiday the mine is only in operation for two months in Q4, resulting in reduced tonnage of ore mined compared to previous quarters of Fiscal 2017; and iv) the increase of metals prices, as the realized selling price for silver, lead, and zinc increased by 22%, 49%, and 107% compared to the prior year quarter, respectively.  

Sales in Q4 Fiscal 2017 were $34.1 million, up 75% compared to $19.4 million in the same quarter last year. Silver and gold sales represented $18.3 million and $0.7 million, respectively, while base metals represented $15.1 million of total sales compared to silver, gold and base metals of $11.1 million, $0.3 million, and $8.0 million, respectively, in the prior year quarter.

Cost of sales in Q4 Fiscal 2017 was $13.8 million compared to $13.2 million in Q4 Fiscal 2016.  The cost of sales included $12.0 million (Q4 Fiscal 2016 - $10.2 million) cash costs, $1.8 million (Q4 Fiscal 2016 - $2.8 million) depreciation, amortization and depletion charges, and $nil write down of inventories (Q4 Fiscal 2016 - $0.2 million).  

Gross profit in Q4 Fiscal 2017 improved to 60%, compared to 32% in Q4 Fiscal 2016.

Cash flows provided by operating activities in Q4 Fiscal 2017 were $4.9 million in Q4 Fiscal 2017 compared to $4.3 million in Q4 Fiscal 2016. Before changes in non-cash operating working capital, cash flows provided by operating activities in the current quarter were $9.1 million, an increase of $7.0 million, compared to $2.1 million in the prior year quarter.

OPERATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT

In Fiscal 2017, the Company sold 6.5 million ounces of silver, 3,300 ounces of gold, 70.5 million pounds of lead, and 18.3 million pounds of zinc, compared to 5.0 million ounces of silver, 2,400 ounces of gold, 52.5 million pounds of lead, and 17.5 million pounds of zinc, respectively, in Fiscal 2016.  The increase of metals sold was mainly due to: i) a 6% increase in ore milled, and ii) a 12%, 16% and 15% increase in the head grades of silver, lead and zinc head grades, resulting largely from the ongoing dilution control measures and operation management improvements.

1. Ying Mining District, Henan Province, China

In Fiscal 2017, total ore mined at the Ying Mining District was 636,760 tonnes, an 8% increase compared to 589,766 tonnes mined in the prior year.  Correspondently, ore milled increased by 9% to 638,211 tonnes from 587,450 tonnes in the prior year. Silver, lead and zinc head grades improved by 13%, 20% and 19%, respectively, to 303 grams per tonne ("g/t") for silver, 4.7% for lead and 1.0% for zinc from 268 g/t for silver, 3.9% for lead and 0.8% for zinc in the prior year, resulting largely from the ongoing dilution control and operation management improvements.   

Silver, gold, lead, and zinc metals sold in Fiscal 2017 at the Ying Mining District was up by 35%, 43%, 46% and 13%, respectively, to approximately 5.9 million ounces silver, 3,300 ounces gold, 63.4 million pounds lead, and 5.8 million pounds zinc from 4.4 million ounces silver, 2,300 ounces gold, 43.5 million pounds lead, and 5.2 million pounds of zinc. 

Total and cash mining costs per tonne at the Ying Mining District in Fiscal 2017 were $74.04 and $51.79 per tonne, respectively, compared to $79.93 and $56.90 per tonne in the prior year. The decrease in cash mining costs was mainly due to: i) a 4% decrease in per tonne labour costs, and ii) a 28% decrease in per tonne mining preparation costs. 

Total and cash milling costs per tonne at the Ying Mining District in Fiscal 2017 were $11.73 and $9.50, a decrease of 21% and 23%, respectively, compared to $14.91 and $12.34 in Fiscal 2016. The decrease in cash milling costs was mainly due to i) an 8% decrease in per tonne labor costs, ii) a 20% reduction in raw material costs, iii) a 10% decrease in per tonne utility costs, and iv) the exclusion of mineral resources tax from milling costs. Prior to June 30, 2016, mineral resource tax was levied at RMB¥13.0 per tonne of ore milled and included as part of milling costs. Effective July 1, 2016, the mineral resource tax has been changed to a levy based on a certain percentage of sales, and therefore such tax is excluded from milling costs but expensed and included directly as part of cost of sales.

Correspondingly, cash production costs per tonne of ore processed in Fiscal 2017 at the Ying Mining District was $65.17, an 11% decrease compared to $73.25 in the prior year due to the decrease in both per tonne cash mining and milling costs.

Cash costs per ounce of silver, net of by-product credits, in Fiscal 2017 at the Ying Mining District, was negative $2.70 compared to $1.38 in the prior year. The decrease was mainly due to i) lower per tonne cash production costs as discussed above, and ii) a 73% increase in by-product credits mainly arising from 46% and 13% increase in lead and zinc metals sold and 19% and 37% increase in net realized lead and zinc selling prices. Sales from lead and zinc accounted for 39% of the total sales at the Ying Mining District in Fiscal 2017, and amounted to $55.8 million, an increase of $23.5 million, compared to $32.3 million in the prior year.

All in sustaining costs per ounce of silver, net of by-product credits, in Fiscal 2017 at the Ying Mining District was $2.61 compared to $8.60 in the prior year. The decrease was mainly due to lower cash costs per ounce of silver as discussed above.

In Fiscal 2017, approximately 93,755 meters ("m") of underground diamond drilling (Fiscal 2016 – 63,398 m) and 17,787 m of preparation tunnelling (Fiscal 2016 – 19,113 m) were completed and expensed as mining preparation costs at the Ying Mining District. In addition, approximately 60,241 m of horizontal tunnel, raises and declines (58,268 m) were completed and capitalized.  Total exploration and development expenditures capitalized at the Ying Mining District in Fiscal 2017 were $18.1 million compared to $18.9 million in Fiscal 2016.

In Q4 Fiscal 2017, the Company mined 112,755 tonnes of ore at the Ying Mining District, a 13% increase compared to 99,415 tonnes in Q4 Fiscal 2016. Correspondently, ore milled increased by 9% to 108,051 tonnes from 99,203 tonnes in the prior year quarter. Head grades were 298 gram per tonne ("g/t") for silver, 4.8% for lead, and 0.8% for zinc in Q4 Fiscal 2017, compared to 310 g/t for silver, 4.0% for lead, and 0.9% for zinc in Q4 Fiscal 2016. 

Silver, lead, and zinc metals sold in Q4 Fiscal 2017 at the Ying Mining District was up by 46%, 83%, and 3%, respectively, to approximately 1.3 million ounces silver, 13.5 million pounds lead, and 1.0 million pounds zinc from 0.9 million ounces silver, 7.4 million pounds lead, and 1.0 million pounds of zinc. 

In Q4 Fiscal 2017, the total and cash mining costs per tonne, at the Ying Mining District, were $53.50 and $49.99, compared to $83.24 and $54.63 in Q4 Fiscal 2016. The decrease in per tonne cash mining costs was mainly due to higher output resulting in lower per tonne labor costs and mine administration costs.

The total milling and cash milling cost per tonne in Q4 Fiscal 2017 at the Ying Mining District was $13.60 and $10.43, a decrease of 22% and 24%, respectively, compared to $17.38 and $13.70 in the prior year period. The decrease in cash milling costs was mainly due to i) a 16% decrease in per tonne labor costs, ii) a 25% reduction in raw material costs, and iii) the exclusion of mineral resources tax from milling costs as discussed above.

Correspondingly, cash production costs per tonne of ore processed in Q4 Fiscal 2017 at the Ying Mining District was $64.34, an 11% decrease compared to $71.90 in the prior year quarter due to the decrease in both per tonne cash mining and milling costs.

Cash costs per ounce of silver, net of by-product credits, at the Ying Mining District, was negative $3.73 in Q4 Fiscal 2017 compared to $2.83 in Q4 Fiscal 2016. The decrease was mainly due to: i) lower per tonne cash production costs as discussed above, and ii) a 90% increase in by-product credits arising from 83% and 3% increase in lead and zinc metals sold and 36% and 115% increase in net realized lead and zinc selling prices. Sales from lead and zinc accounted for 43% of the total sales at the Ying Mining District in the current quarter, and amounted to $13.8 million, an increase of $8.2 million, compared to $5.6 million in the prior year quarter.

All in sustaining costs per ounce of silver, net of by-product credits, at the Ying Mining District in Q4 Fiscal 2017 was $0.74 per ounce of silver compared to $8.92 in Q4 Fiscal 2016. The decrease was mainly due to the lower per tonne cash production costs and the increase in by-product credits as discussed above.  

2.  GC Mine, Guangdong Province, China

In Fiscal 2017, total ore mined at the GC Mine was 260,746 tonnes, a 1% increase compared to 257,575 tonnes of mined in Fiscal 2016.  Correspondingly, ore milled increased by 1% to 260,696 tonnes from 256,862 tonnes in the prior year. Head grades were 94 g/t for silver, 1.4% for lead, and 2.8% for zinc compared to 94 g/t for silver, 1.8% for lead, and 2.5% for zinc in the prior year. 

In Fiscal 2017, GC Mine sold 564 thousand ounces of silver, 7.1 million pounds of lead, 12.4 million pounds of zinc compared to 637 thousand ounces of silver, 9.0 million pounds of lead, and 12.3 million pounds of zinc sold in the prior year.   

Total and cash mining costs per tonne at the GC Mine in Fiscal 2017 were $40.03 and $32.1 per tonne, compared to $46.49 and $38.23 per tonne in Fiscal 2016. The decrease in cash mining costs was mainly because approximately 35% of ore was by-product ore from exploration tunnelling or extracted from previously mined stopes for which direct mining costs were paid in prior years and the only cost involved was to ship the ore to the mill.  

Total and cash milling costs per tonne at the GC Mine in Fiscal 2017 were $17.78 and $14.73, compared to $18.30 and $15.79, respectively, in Fiscal 2016. The decrease in milling costs was mainly due to the exclusion of mineral resources from milling costs as discussed above.

Correspondingly, cash production costs per tonne of ore processed in Fiscal 2017 at the GC Mine decreased by 13% to $46.83 from $54.02 in the prior year due to the decrease in both per tonne cash mining and milling costs.

Cash costs per ounce of silver, net of by-product credits, at the GC Mine, was negative $6.47 compared to $1.85 in the prior year. The decrease was mainly due to: i) lower per tonne cash production costs as discussed above, and ii) a 12% increase in by-product credits, mainly arising from more zinc sold and a 19% and 33% increase in net realized lead and zinc selling prices. Sales from lead and zinc accounted for 69% of the total sales at the GC Mine in Fiscal 2017, and amounted to $14.3 million, an increase of $1.8 million, compared to $12.5 million in the prior year.

All in sustaining costs per ounce of silver, net of by-product credits, in Fiscal 2017 at the GC Mine was $0.20 compared to $8.81 in the prior year. The decrease was mainly due to lower cash costs per ounce of silver and less corporate expenditures and sustaining capital expenditures incurred.

In Fiscal 2017, approximately 12,484 m of underground diamond drilling (Fiscal 2016 – 20,556 m) and 14,690 m of tunnelling (Fiscal 2016 – 13,570 m) were completed and expensed as mining preparation costs at the GC Mine. In addition, approximately 1,721 m of horizontal tunnel, raises and declines (Fiscal 2016 – 1,409 m) were completed and capitalized.  Total exploration and development expenditures capitalized at the GC Mine in Fiscal 2017 were $0.7 million compared to $0.9 million in Fiscal 2016.

In Q4 Fiscal 2017, the Company mined 40,224 tonnes of ore at the GC Mine, a 20% decrease compared to 50,014 tonnes in the prior year quarter. Correspondingly, ore milled decreased by 20% to 39,929 tonnes from 50,124 tonnes in Q4 Fiscal 2016. Head grades were 91 g/t for silver, 1.3% for lead, and 2.6% for zinc in Q4 Fiscal 2017, compared to 92 g/t for silver, 2.0% for lead, and 2.7% for zinc in the prior year quarter. 

Silver, lead, and zinc metals sold in Q4 Fiscal 2017 at the GC Mine was down by 55%, 58%, and 82%, respectively, to approximately 53 thousand ounces silver, 818 thousand pounds lead, and 455 thousand pounds zinc from 118 thousand ounces silver, 2.0 million pounds lead, and 2.6 million pounds of zinc.  The decrease was mainly due to: i) lower production in Q4 Fiscal 2017, and ii) increase in concentrate inventory. As at March 31, 2017, GC mine was holding 198 tonnes of lead concentrate inventory and 1,503 tonnes of zinc concentrate inventory, an increase of 127 tonnes and 1,469 tonnes, respectively, compared to 71 tonnes of lead concentrate and 34 tonnes of zinc concentrates held as at March 31, 2016, and an increase of 188 tonnes and 1,494 tonnes, respectively, compared to 10 tonnes of lead concentrate and 29 tonnes of zinc concentrate held as at December 31, 2016.

In Q4 Fiscal 2017, the total and cash mining costs per tonne, at the GC Mine, were $45.37 and $37.91, compared to $34.76 and $26.24 in the prior year period. The increase in per tonne cash mining costs was mainly due to lower output resulting in higher per tonne labor costs and mine administration costs.  The lower output was due to the annual Chinese New Year, which reduced mine operations to only two months during the quarter.  

The total milling and cash milling costs per tonne in Q4 Fiscal 2017 at the GC Mine was $24.99 and $20.06, compared to $20.67 and $16.99 in the prior year quarter. The increase in per tonne milling costs was mainly due to lower output resulting in higher per tonne fixed overhead costs allocated. 

Correspondingly, cash production costs per tonne of ore processed in Q4 Fiscal 2017 at the GC Mine increased to $57.97 from $43.23 in the prior year quarter due to the increase in both per tonne cash mining and milling costs.

Alex Zhang, P.Geo., Vice President, Exploration, is the Qualified Person for Silvercorp under NI 43-101 and has reviewed and given consent to the technical information contained in this news release.

This earnings release should be read in conjunction with the Company's Management Discussion & Analysis, Financial Statements and Notes to Financial Statements for the corresponding period, which have been posted on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and are also available on the Company's website at www.silvercorp.ca.  All figures are in United States dollars unless otherwise stated.

About Silvercorp

Silvercorp is a low-cost silver-producing Canadian mining company with multiple mines in China. The Company's vision is to deliver shareholder value by focusing on the acquisition of under developed projects with resource potential and the ability to grow organically. For more information, please visit our website at www.silvercorp.ca.

CAUTIONARY DISCLAIMER - FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

Certain of the statements and information in this press release constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable Canadian provincial securities laws. Any statements or information that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance (often, but not always, using words or phrases such as "expects", "is expected", "anticipates", "believes", "plans", "projects", "estimates", "assumes", "intends", "strategies", "targets", "goals", "forecasts", "objectives", "budgets", "schedules", "potential" or variations thereof or stating that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved, or the negative of any of these terms and similar expressions) are not statements of historical fact and may be forward-looking statements or information.  Forward-looking statements or information relate to, among other things: the price of silver and other metals; the accuracy of mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates at the Company's material properties; the sufficiency of the Company's capital to finance the Company's operations; estimates of the Company's revenues and capital expenditures; estimated production from the Company's mines in the Ying Mining District; timing of receipt of permits and regulatory approvals; availability of funds from production to finance the Company's operations; and access to and availability of funding for future construction, use of proceeds from any financing and development of the Company's properties.

Forward-looking statements or information are subject to a variety of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ from those reflected in the forward-looking statements or information, including, without limitation, risks relating to: fluctuating commodity prices; calculation of resources, reserves and mineralization and precious and base metal recovery; interpretations and assumptions of mineral resource and mineral reserve estimates; exploration and development programs; feasibility and engineering reports; permits and licences; title to properties; property interests;  joint venture partners; acquisition of commercially mineable mineral rights; financing; recent market events and conditions; economic factors affecting the Company; timing, estimated amount, capital and operating expenditures and economic returns of future production; integration of future acquisitions into the Company's existing operations;  competition;  operations and political conditions; regulatory environment in China and Canada;  environmental risks; foreign exchange rate fluctuations; insurance; risks and hazards of mining operations; key personnel; conflicts of interest; dependence on management; internal control over financial reporting as per the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act; and bringing actions and enforcing judgments under U.S. securities laws.

This list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect any of the Company's forward-looking statements or information. Forward-looking statements or information are statements about the future and are inherently uncertain, and actual achievements of the Company or other future events or conditions may differ materially from those reflected in the forward-looking statements or information due to a variety of risks, uncertainties and other factors, including, without limitation, those referred to in the Company's Annual Information Form for the year ended March 31, 2017 under the heading "Risk Factors".  Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated, described or intended.  Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements or information.  

The Company's forward-looking statements and information are based on the assumptions, beliefs, expectations and opinions of management as of the date of this press release, and other than as required by applicable securities laws, the Company does not assume any obligation to update forward-looking statements and information if circumstances or management's assumptions, beliefs, expectations or opinions should change, or changes in any other events affecting such statements or information. For the reasons set forth above, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements and information.

http://www.silvercorpmetals.com/

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