Royal Bafokeng profits rise

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LonminMine Independent Newspapers. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya.

Johannesburg - South Africa's Royal Bafokeng Platinum said on Tuesday first-half earnings rose by a third as currency weakness lifted the rand price of the platinum group metals it produces.

The mid-tier producer, which was unaffected by a five-month strike in the industry this year, said headline earnings per share for the six months to the end of June rose 33 percent to 116 cents.

Unlike most of the platinum industry, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) remains the main union at RBPlat.

The company's rivals were hit by a strike, the longest in South African history, launched by the hardline Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) this year.

RBPlat signed a three-year deal with NUM in July, which will be reviewed in 2017 and possibly extended to 2019.

The company said the deal was “a critical measure that will be a major contributor to our stability over the next five years”.

RBPlat said the platinum market is forecast to swing into a deficit this year because of the strike against Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin.

But it said prices are unlikely to accelerate from current levels, as depressed jewelry demand acts as a counter-balance to an expected rise in automobile sales.

Platinum's primary use is for emissions-capping catalytic converters in vehicles.

Spot platinum prices are currently up about 7 percent so far this year, fetching around $1,463 (R15,581) an ounce, but are far off the record peaks above $2,100 scaled in 2008. - Reuters

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