Strike causes Amplats’ profits to fall

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PlatinumJewellery REUTERS A saleswoman displays platinum rings.

Johannesburg - South Africa's Anglo American Platinum said on Monday its first-half earnings would fall by as much as 96 percent after a five-month strike - the longest and most damaging in the country's history - crippled its operations.

Members of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) downed tools at Amplats, Impala Platinum and Lonmin in January demanding higher wages.

The workers returned to work in June.

Amplats said it expected headline earnings per share for the six months to end-June to fall to between 20 cents and 80 cents, from 514 cents a share in the same period last year.

Headline earnings are the main profit gauge in South Africa and exclude certain one-time items.

The company has said it was reviewing options for its Rustenburg operations, which were hit by the strike and its parent Anglo American has signalled its intention to possibly dispose of some of its ageing platinum assets.

A painful restructuring has been expected in South Africa's platinum sector, which is struggling with rising costs and depressed prices for the precious metal used for catalytic converters in automobiles.

Amplats will release its interim results on July 21. - Reuters

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