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Amplats profit nearly doubles on higher prices, improved operations

Higher metals prices and improved operational performance boosts Amplats profits by 95%.
Eskom's rolling power cuts however affected Amplats mining output in the past week. Picture: Dean Hutton, Bloomberg

South Africa‘s Anglo American Platinum Ltd (Amplats) on Monday reported a 95% surge in full-year profit, boosted by higher metals prices and an improved operational performance.

Headline earnings per share (HEPS) – the main profit measure in South Africa that strips out certain one-off items – rose to R28.93 ($2.06) for the year ended December 31, 2018, compared with R14.82 a year before.

Shares in Amplats rose more than 2% in early trade and were up 1.9% at R704.00 by 0722 GMT.

“In another year of strong production from our operations, total Platinum Group Metal (PGM) production increased by 4%,” said Amplats Chief Executive Chris Griffith.

Amplats said it had lost 14 000 ounces of platinum production last week when struggling state power firm Eskom implemented five straight days of power cuts.

“We lost about 14 000 platinum ounces so PGM’s (total lost output) is probably a bit more than double that,” Griffith said on a conference call, adding it should be able to make up the loss within the year.

The group also said it would increase its dividend payout ratio policy to 40% from 30% of headline earnings, reaffirming its confidence in the future of the business and commitment to disciplined and balanced capital allocation.

Amplats said it would pay a second-half dividend of R7.51 per share, bringing the total dividend for the year to R11.25 compared with 3.49 a year ago.

Griffith said he was considering building a 100 megawatt solar power plant at the group’s Mogalakwena site as part of a strategy to supply some of its own power.

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