Sibanye doubtful on platinum purchase

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Neal Froneman Independent Newspapers. Sibanye Gold chief executive Neal Froneman. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

Johannesburg - Sibanye Gold, the world’s best-performing major producer of bullion in 2014, is doubtful it will make its first platinum-asset purchase this year as sellers such as Anglo American are slowing the process.

“What’s clear is that Anglo is going to move at a much slower pace than what we were anticipating,” Sibanye chief executive Neal Froneman said today in a phone interview.

“Due to the much slower movement by other companies I’m becoming very doubtful something will happen this year.”

Froneman plans to buy platinum assets in South Africa to sustain the company’s dividend as its gold mines reach the end of their lifespans.

While he’s seeking operations valued by their owners at about 5 billion rand to 10 billion rand, he doesn’t plan to pay that much, he said in July.

Anglo American Platinum is aiming to sell as many as four mines and two joint ventures by the end of 2015, Mark Cutifani, chief executive of parent company Anglo American, said July 25.

Sibanye’s stock has more than doubled this year, making it the best performer in the Bloomberg Industry Senior Gold Index, as the company cut costs while increasing production at its three mature mines in South Africa.

Froneman said platinum could make up 50 percent of the company’s revenue in the “medium term.”

Sibanye increased the quantity of metal produced 8.5 percent to 711,900 ounces in the first half from a year earlier while reducing all-in costs 16 percent.

Shares Increase

The shares rallied as much as 5 percent, the most since June 20, and traded 4.6 percent higher at 26.68 rand at 9:16 am in Johannesburg.

Headline earnings dropped 36 percent to $61.2 million (R654 million) on the lower gold price and an impairment on its investment in Africa’s biggest refinery, the Westonaria, South Africa-based company said today in a statement.

The company will pay a half-year dividend of 0.5 rand a share.

Gold production is forecast to increase to about 1.61 million ounces this year, higher than the previous estimate of 1.4 million ounces, because of the acquisition of the Cooke operations, Froneman said.

All-in costs will range from $1,070 an ounce to $1,085 an ounce, the company said.

Capital spending is estimated at $320 million. - Bloomberg News


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