SAFE BET: A display of gold bullion. Picture: REUTERS

JOHANNESBURG - South African gold miner Randgold and Exploration on Monday reported a total comprehensive loss of R7 million for the year ended 31 December 2017, down from R7.9 million the previous year, as a result of an increase in legal fees. 

Randgold said that during the 2017 financial year, it received liquidation dividends from the insolvent deceased estate of Brett Kebble of R1.1 million, R9.1 million profit from the sale of prospecting rights, and interest of R13 million earned on cash investments. 

Seven minority Randgold shareholders have been engaged in a R1.3 billion legal wrangling with Investec since 2011 against non-performing loan exposure to JCI and Western Areas, companies previously controlled by Kebble.

The company also spent R6.7 million on personnel costs, R22.4 million on legal and forensic fees, and other operational costs totalled R2.1 million.

Randgold financial director, Van Zyl Botha, said that Randgold was liquid with no interest-bearing debt, with total assets consisting primarily of cash and cash equivalents and a net asset value per share of R2.13 at 31 December 2017. 

Randgold started the year under review with a cash and cash equivalent balance of R170 million. The group's cash outflow of R9.9 million was the net result of interest earned on cash, the disposal of prospecting rights and recoveries received, less cash utilized to fund its operations during the year. 

The miner said that it remains in a healthy cash position with R160.1 million in cash and cash equivalents at 31 December 2017.

Randgold said that the outlook for 2018 was largely dependent on the progress and outcome of current legal matters, with expenditure on litigation expected to be at a similar level as 2017. 

"Until the claims in which the company are engaged have been finalized, this pattern of expenditure is likely to prevail".

 - African News Agency (ANA)