A signboard near the Sibanye gold mine in Westonaria, west of Johannesburg. Photo: Reuters
JOHANNESBURG - Sibanye Stillwater yesterday flagged that it will swing to a hefty R4.4billion attributable loss in the year to December, compared with attributable earnings of R3.4bn in 2016, after it grappled with a myriad of problems during the year under review.

The company blamed the loss to impairments, a provision for occupational healthcare claims, restructuring and transaction costs and significant differences in commodity prices, and the average exchange rate year-on-year.

Despite the attributable loss, normalised earnings were R522million for the second half of 2017, which it said was significantly higher than the R1bn normalised loss for the first half of the year.

Sibanye Stillwater said this resulted in a normalised loss of R480m for the year ended December 31, 2017, compared with normalised earnings of R3.67bn for the comparative period.

Seleho Tsatsi, an investment researcher at the Johan­nesburg-based Anchor Capital, said that the market was concerned that going forward, the recent strength in the rand would obviously not be helpful for Sibanye.

“After a spree of acquisitions, management will perhaps focus more on bedding down the platinum acquisitions it has made over the past few years.

“It will be interesting to see, for example, how Sibanye executes the restructuring at Lonmin.

“We expect earnings to continue to be under pressure in the short term, because the Rand PGM (platinum group metals) basket price continues to be muted,” said Tsatsi.

The group also said that it expected to report a loss per share of 229cents for the year ended December 31, 2017, and a headline loss per share of 12c.

Earnings per share and headline earnings per share for the period were further affected by the rights offer and capitalisation issue.

Sibanye Stillwater last May announced a rights offer, which was discounted at 60percent to pay for the acquisition of Stillwater Mining, the platinum and palladium asset in the US, signalling that management was trying hard to ensure that the majority of shareholders take up their rights.

Sibanye shares closed 1.53percent lower at R13.51 on the JSE yesterday.