Amplats returns to profit

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AngloPlatMiners111 Reuters. Miners walk at the end of their shift at the Anglo Platinum's Khuseleka shaft 1 mine in Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg.

Johannesburg - Anglo American Platinum Ltd., the world’s biggest producer of the metal, reported a return to full-year profit helped by increased sales and a drop in South Africa’s rand against the dollar.

Earnings excluding one-time items were 1.45 billion rand ($130 million), or 5.56 rand a share in 2013 compared with a loss of 1.5 billion rand, or 5.62 rand a share, in 2012, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement today.

The median of 16 estimates in a Bloomberg survey was for a profit of 5.63 rand a share.

A loss attributable to ordinary shareholders narrowed to 1.37 billion rand from 6.68 billion rand.

“We expect the global platinum market to remain balanced in the short term, with increasing deficits over the medium term as steady demand growth exceeds growth in supply from secondary recycled sources and capital-constrained mining supply,” the company said in the statement.

The Anglo American Plc unit that’s also known as Amplats booked a 2.8 billion-rand writedown for closing shafts and cutting jobs last year as it sought to return to profit.

It was helped by a recovering global economy, which boosted demand for platinum, used in catalytic converters in cars to reduce pollution.

Refined platinum output for the year was 2.3 million ounces, the company said on January 29.

That compares with 2.22 million ounces a year earlier.

It plans to keep baseline production flat at 2.3 million ounces to 2.4 million ounces of platinum in 2014.

 

Rand Decline

 

Amplats reports earnings in rand, the currency that’s depreciated 24 percent since the beginning of last year against the dollar, in which platinum is priced.

The average spot price for the metal was $1,486.42 an ounce last year, 4.2 percent less than the mean in 2012.

The company, together with other producers in South Africa, is in the second week of a crippling strike as at least 70,000 members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, the largest labour group at platinum operations in the nation, walked out over pay on January 23.

A second labour group, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, told Amplats on January 30 its members will stop work at refineries and smelters from today over a wage dispute. - Bloomberg News



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