Northam gears up to buy plat­inum as­sets

CityPress - - Business -

Northam Plat­inum, one of South Africa’s smaller min­ing groups, is get­ting ready to buy up some as­sets that may be for sale by big­ger com­pa­nies.

The com­pany this week an­nounced it would “look to­wards cap­i­tal­is­ing on any re­struc­tur­ing in the sec­tor” af­ter An­glo Amer­i­can Plat­inum an­nounced it would sell its Rusten­burg plat­inum mines.

But ac­cord­ing to Northam, the plat­inum in­dus­try would be truly rein­vig­o­rated only four years from now, in 2018.

That is when the plat­inum mar­ket is ex­pected to “turn” into favourable ter­ri­tory with sig­nif­i­cantly higher prices.

The fact that plat­inum prices barely moved dur­ing this year’s plat­inum strike has con­firmed that above-ground stocks are read­ily avail­able and are keep­ing the price down, Northam said in its an­nual fi­nan­cial re­port this week.

The com­pany needed to get “strate­gi­cally fit” be­fore then, which in­cluded sort­ing out its em­pow­er­ment sta­tus and seek­ing mines it could buy when big­ger com­pa­nies started sell­ing, it said.

Im­pala Plat­inum warned on Fri­day that the five-month-long plat­inum strike by the As­so­ci­a­tion of Min­ing and Con­struc­tion Union had knocked its head­line earn­ings down by 70% to 75% to as lit­tle as 82c a share in the year to June.

That trans­lates to head­line earn­ings of about R500 mil­lion as op­posed to R2 bil­lion the pre­vi­ous fi­nan­cial year.

Northam suf­fered a sep­a­rate 11-week-long strike by the Na­tional Union of Minework­ers at the end of last year.

Its head­line earn­ings for the same pe­riod had fallen by 98.4%, from R522 mil­lion to R8.6 mil­lion. – De­wald van Rens­burg

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