Johannesburg - Gold producer Sibanye Gold's board has declared a dividend equivalent to 25 percent of normalised earnings within its first six months as an independent company, it said on Thursday.
Chief executive Neal Froneman said in a statement that this maiden dividend showed that the board and the company's lender had confidence in the company's strategy.
“We have consistently reiterated our policy of returning cash to shareholders through dividends, and it is pleasing that Sibanye Gold has managed to do so in its first six months as an independent company.”
On Thursday, Sibanye announced a 37 cents a share maiden interim dividend for the six months up to June 30.
In July, the company renegotiated the terms of its bridge loan facilities.
The extra flexibility this yielded allowed Sibanye to declare an interim dividend of up to 25 percent of normalised earnings for the first six months of the year.
A final dividend of up to 35 percent of normalised earnings for 2013 was also declared.
Uncertainty about wage negotiations at the time led the company to delay the declaration of a dividend until the process was concluded.
On Tuesday, a two-year wage agreement was signed under which category four and five employees and rock drill operators would receive an eight percent increase and other employees a 7.5 percent increase from July 1.
The agreement struck between the Chamber of Mines and unions Solidarity, Uasa and the National Union of Mineworkers was not signed by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which represents 19 percent of workers.
Amcu was to meet the Chamber of Mines on Friday.
Sibanye Gold said the dividend declared was the most possible under the company's present debt covenants.
“The annualised yield on this interim dividend is 6.5 percent, which positions Sibanye Gold as the top dividend yield company in the sector,” Froneman said.
Sibanye Gold was formed in early 2013, when three Gold Fields mines separated into a newly-listed company. - Sapa