031110 A new study has found that SA coal reserves have been significantly downsized since 2003.photo by Simphiwe Mbokazi 453

Johannesburg - South Africa's Exxaro reported a slight rise in full-year earnings on Thursday, helped by a strong performance in its coal business, and said it expects challenging markets conditions ahead.

Exxaro, South Africa's second-largest coal producer, which also has interests in iron ore and base metals, said headline earnings for the year were 14.63 rand, up 4 percent.

Headline EPS, the main profit gauge in South Africa, strip out certain one-time items.

Coal production was up 3 percent to 38.7 million tonnes while coal exports were at 4.5 million tonnes, up 15 percent.

The company declared a final dividend of 315 cents, bringing total the dividend to 550 cents, a rise of 10 percent. - Reuters