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Exxaro buoyed by equity investments as core profit falls

Half-year headline profit up 42%.

South African miner Exxaro Resources on Thursday reported a 42% rise in half-year headline profit as income from equity investments offset lower core earnings.

Headline earnings per share (Heps) rose to R17.30 per share in the six months to the end of June, from R12.22 per share a year earlier. Heps is the main profit gauge in South Africa and strips out certain one-off items.

Income from equity investments rose to R2.92 billion from R1.05 billion in the prior period, boosted by the company’s 21% stake in Sishen Iron Ore Company, a subsidiary of Kumba Iron Ore.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) dropped 29% to R2.81 billion from R3.95 billion in the previous year.

The miner said its Ebitda fell due to factors including lower revenue, inflationary pressure on costs, and higher distribution costs driven by larger export volumes.

Coal production volumes fell 6%, impacted by the divestment of North Block Complex operations at end of October 2018, as well as lower production at its Matla mine, and lower demand from Eskom for the Medupi Power Station affecting production at its Grootegeluk mine.

The firm declared an interim cash dividend of 864 cents per share, up 63% year-on-year, and a special cash dividend of 897 cents from the proceeds of its disposal of a stake in US titanium products company Tronox.

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Equity investments sound like an oxymoron to me. Smoke and mirrors.

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