Harmony Gold financial director to retire
JOHANNESBURG - Harmony Gold yesterday announced the retirement of its long-time serving financial director Frank Abbott, 64, who made an important contribution in setting the firm on a growth trajectory.
Harmony said Boipelo Lekubo would replace Abbott from March 3.
"In line with its succession plan, the Board followed a rigorous candidate search internally and externally," Harmony said.
Harmony said Abbott would continue to serve as financial director of the company until March 2 as part of the handover process.
Abbott would remain on the board as an executive director and assume responsibility for business development, Harmony said.
"The chairman of the board, Patrice Motsepe, would like to thank Abbott for his invaluable contribution in the role of financial director of Harmony and wishes to welcome Lekubo to the board," Harmony said.
Rene Hochreiter, a mining analyst at NOAH Capital Markets, said Abbott's decision to introduce currency and gold hedges had set the company on a growth trajectory.
"He (Abbott) was outstanding with his timing of the hedges," Hochereiter said adding that Abbott also managed to restructure Harmony's finances.
"He (Abbott) has very good systems which are currently in place as we speak," said Hochreiter.
Harmony's hedging strategy contributed to improved cash flow margins. Harmony said in its 2019 annual report that the hedging strategy had contributed R477 million (US$34 million) to the group’s overall cash position during the 2019 financial year.
The group, which operates mines in South African and Papua New Guinea, hedges a percentage of its production to take advantage of volatile commodity and currency markets to lock-in attractive margins for the business.
Harmony first appointed Abbott as a non-executive director in October 1994 and was finance director from 1997 until 2004. He was re-appointed financial director in February 2012.
In August 2007, Abbott was seconded to Harmony as interim financial director, a position he held until handing over to Hannes Meyer in November 2009. He remained executive director until 31 July 2010 after which he served as a non-executive director of both Harmony and African Rainbow Mineral.
He was re-appointed executive director of Harmony on 8 November 2011 until his appointment as financial director.
The company said last year that the Moab Khotsong and Hidden Valley mines generated combined operating fee cash flows of R1.4 billion after operating for the full twelve-month period in 2019 and significantly boosting production levels for the group.
Capital expenditure for 2019 increased by 9 percent to R4.7bn mainly due to the inclusion of Moab Khotsong for the full twelve-month period in 2019 compared to the four months in 2018.