Stock markets turned red on Tuesday as Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine and Western nations began to announce economic sanctions against Russia. By close of trading Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had dropped 1.5%.
One stock defying the downturn, however, was Hecla Mining (HL -7.42%). America's biggest silver miner (and a big miner of gold, too) benefited not just from being in the business of producing some of the world's hardest currency in a time of economic uncertainty but from its own impressive earnings performance in 2021.
Reporting earnings for fiscal fourth quarter and full-year 2021 this morning, Hecla unfortunately missed analyst targets for Q4 sales and only just met estimates for earnings, reporting $184.1 million in sales and $0.02 in profit per share for the quarter. Nevertheless, 2021 as a whole "was an outstanding year for Hecla," according to CEO Phillips Baker, Jr.," who noted that Hecla "generated record revenues and adjusted EBITDA resulting in the second highest free cash flow in our 130-year history."
For the year, Hecla recorded sales of $807.5 million and earned a gross profit margin of 27% on those sales -- 360 basis points higher than 2020's performance. Earnings per share for the year were $0.06, and free cash flow came to $111.3 million -- up 24% year over year.
Hecla did not provide a forecast for what to expect in terms of sales and earnings this year. Management did, however, lay out its production goals for both silver and gold, predicting it will produce the equivalent of between 39.3 million and 40.7 million ounces of silver, and the equivalent of between 509,000 and 527,000 ounces of gold this year, and grow both totals consistently over the next two years.
Investors seemed more than happy to hear just that.