THARISA Minerals. Photo supplied
JOHANNESBURG - Tharisa has declared its maiden interim cash dividend of 2UScents (R0.25) an ordinary share for the six months to end-March, despite a decline in profits during the period.

The group yesterday said its net profit before tax slowed 45.53percent to $37.2 million (R464m) as a result of higher operating costs and lower chrome concentrate during the period compared to $68.3m recorded last year.

“The financial results of the group were characterised by firstly increased revenue as volume sales for both PGMs and chrome concentrates increased, while the pricing metrics for both commodities reflected opposing trends,” the group said.

The PGM basket price increased by 19.6percent to $909 per ounce, with palladium up by 16.3percent and rhodium increasing by 9.2percent, while there was a normalisation in the metallurgical grade chrome concentrate price which averaged $193 a ton.

Despite the drop in profits, revenue inched up by 13.76percent to $199.2m during the period from $175.1m, largely attributable to an increase on volumes sold and an increased PGM basket price.

The group increased PGM sales by 10percent during the period to 76100 ounces and metallurgical grade chrome concentrate sales were up by 53percent to 553000 tons. However, chrome prices were down by 31percent to $193 a ton.

In the results, basic and diluted earnings per share for the period amounted to 10c US a share, down from 16c US, while headline earnings per share also amounted to 10c US a share, down from 16c US.

Tharisa also reported a total debt of $82.6m, resulting in a debt to total equity ratio of 25.4percent, mainly due to the leveraged purchase of the mining fleet. The group said this exceeds the long-term targeted debt to total equity ratio of 15percent.

Group cash and cash equivalents amounted to $59.9m, resulting in a net debt to total equity ratio of 7percent. Capital expenditure for the period amounted to $17.7m, of which $10.6m related to the mining fleet and $1.3m to processing optimisation initiatives. This is in addition to the $21.8m paid for the acquisition of the mining fleet from MCC.

Tharisa also reported yesterday that it had acquired a 90percent stake in Salene Chrome Zimbabwe from the Leto Settlement Trust, for an undisclosed amount, in a move set to give it access to rich chrome deposits in Zimbabwe.

Tharisa rose 1.27percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R20.