Dineo Faku

HIGHER basket prices combined with sustained production levels at Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat) would probably boost earnings for the six months to June, the JSE-listed platinum junior said in a trading statement yesterday.

The RBPlat share gained 3.16 percent to close at R69.89 on the JSE yesterday as investors welcomed the news of the improved earnings.

The wholly black-owned platinum junior said it expected earnings a share and headline earnings a share for the six months to June to be between R1.06 and R1.21 compared with 87c for the previous corresponding period.

At the same time, normalised earnings a share for the six months to June, after adjusting for amortisation and depreciation charges related to a fair value adjustment, were expected to be between R1.22 and R1.39 compared with normalised earnings a share of R1.11 for the previous corresponding period.

RBPlat said the expected increases were “primarily due to higher realised revenue basket prices and sustained production adjusted for the impact of the increased weighted average number of shares in issue post the R1.5 billion capital raising during the first half of 2014”.

RBPlat signed a three-year wage agreement with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) last week in which 90 percent of staff scored a 10 percent increase each year.

RBPlat was unscathed by the five-month wage strike led by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) at the country’s three platinum majors as well as the labour unrest that rocked the mining sector in August 2012.

Australian-based Aquarius Platinum also announced on Monday that it had reached a three-year wage agreement with the NUM and Solidarity at its Kroondal operation.

The NUM represented the majority of Kroondal’s semi-skilled workforce, while Solidarity represented the majority of the operation’s skilled workforce.

The agreement will push the basic pay in some worker categories up by as much as 12 percent in the first year, and 11 percent in the second and third years. The deal will run from this month until July 2017.

These deals follow the signing of a three-year wage deal between the country’s major platinum producers and Amcu.

RBPlat is expected to release its interim results on August 5.