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Johannesburg – Miner Kumba Iron Ore says its profitability will have improved in the full year.

The iron ore miner, which was recently hit with a R1 billion tax bill, says headline and basic earnings per share will be at least 20 percent higher than a year ago.

In the year to December 2015, headline earnings came in at R3.79 billion, while basic earnings were R469 million.

Headline earnings per share – a key measure of profitability – came in at R11.82, and earnings per share were R1.46.

In a statement released on Friday, the listed miner said its headline earnings and basic earnings for the period are likely to be at least 20 percent higher than the comparative period.

This translates to an increase of at least R758 million and R94 million, respectively, it explains.

Read also: Kumba drops to seven-week low

Headline and basic earnings per share are also likely to be at least 20 percent higher, it adds.

Kumba explains the expected increase in earnings is largely attributable to the increase in export iron ore prices during the year and the weaker average rand:dollar exchange rate.

In the six months to June, Kumba reported headline earnings per share of R9.41 as headline earnings came in at R3 billion - a 20 percent gain on the first half of last year. This was achieved off revenue of R17.5 billion, which was just more than R2 billion lower than last year.

The company also recently announced the appointment of Themba Mkhwanazi as CEO. This followed Norman Mbazima’s decision to step down after four years to focus on his role as deputy chairman of Anglo American South Africa

Kumba, which will release its results on Valentine’s Day, says a further update will be provided in due course.