16/11/2010 Patrice Motsepe Executive Chairman of ARM during his announcement of the fourth dividend payment and ditribution of funds to the beneficiaries of their BEE Trust held at Sandton JHB. (343) Photo: Leon Nicholas

Johannesburg - African Rainbow Minerals, the company chaired by billionaire Patrice Motsepe, said first-half profit rose 66 percent after earnings from its iron-ore unit more than doubled as prices rose and the rand weakened.

Earnings excluding one-time items were 2.3 billion rand for the six months ended December 31 from 1.4 billion rand a year earlier, Johannesburg-based African Rainbow said in a statement today.

Profit from the ferrous division, which comprised 92 percent of total earnings, was 2.2 billion rand.

Benchmark ore with 62 percent iron content delivered to the Chinese port of Tianjin traded at an average of about $135 a dry ton in 2013, 5.5 percent more than in 2012, according to The Steel Index.

African Rainbow receives payment in dollars for its exports of the steelmaking ingredient from South Africa.

The rand depreciated 19 percent against the dollar last year, making it the worst performer among 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

Further growth in “ARM’s iron-ore and manganese-ore production will be aligned with Transnet’s expansion plans,” the company said, referring to Transnet, South Africa’s state-owned ports and rail operator, which plans to expand capacity to enable producers to increase exports. - Bloomberg News