A bird in flight

Finweek English Edition - - Companies & markets - DAVID MCKAY

JU­BILEE PLAT­INUM, which listed on the JSE last year, is lit­tle her­alded. But the firm is promis­ing to ratchet up the ac­tion in South Africa’s bur­geon­ing plat­inum sec­tor.

“This is not the time to be sit­ting still,” says Colin Bird, Ju­bilee Plat­inum’s unas­sum­ing CEO. “We’re in­tensely ac­tive in find­ing the best route for a bet­ter val­u­a­tion,” With an es­ti­mated 20 plat­inum ex­plo­ration and early stage pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies kick­ing around SA’s Bushveld Com­plex, Bird be­lieves con­sol­i­da­tion in the sec­tor is in­evitable.

The in­ward sec­ondary list­ing on the JSE en­abled it to struc­ture its em­pow­er­ment deal and gave it some po­lit­i­cal ca­chet. But it’s also about us­ing shares in SA.

It’s worth ac­knowl­edg­ing that Bird is not the only per­son talk­ing about con­sol­i­da­tion. Aquar­ius Plat­inum, which is bet­ter po­si­tioned with more fi­nanc­ing power at its fin­ger­tips, is an­other more likely cat­a­lyst of change.

Yet if there’s a dark horse that can cap­i­talise on the over­traded plat­inum ex­plo­ration sec­tor, Ju­bilee Plat­inum might be it.

Cur­rently, Ju­bilee Plat­inum’s main fo­cus in SA is its 25% stake in Tjate Plat­inum Cor­po­ra­tion, an in­ter­est it bought for R35m. By spend­ing R14m more on an ex­plo­ration and fea­si­bil­ity study, the com­pany can lift its stake to 35%. Es­ti­mates are Tjate has 65m oz of plat­inum group met­als and gold, of which 23m oz are at­trib­ut­able to Ju­bilee Plat­inum.

Putting Ju­bilee Plat­inum to­gether with an­other pro­ducer could, there­fore, make it the next mid-tier plat­inum play af­ter Aquar­ius. It cur­rently only has a mar­ket cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion of about R475m, which Bird ac­knowl­edges is small.

Mean­while, there are other growthre­lated pres­sures on the com­pany, in­clud­ing the fact that it’s burst­ing the banks of its own re­sources.

The dis­cov­ery of more prospects in Mada­gas­car, where Ju­bilee Plat­inum is also ac­tive, will con­tinue to stretch man­age­ment. Bird ac­knowl­edges the pos­si­bil­ity of ac­cept­ing a part­ner into its latest Mada­gas­can find, a large cop­per/nickel prospect with sig­nif­i­cant plat­inum group met­als. “We’re de­lighted with it,” says Bird.

An­other pos­si­bil­ity is that Ju­bilee Plat­inum might di­vide into two sep­a­rately listed com­pa­nies – plat­inum and base met­als – be­fore em­bark­ing on con­sol­i­da­tion in SA.

No time to be sit­ting still. Colin Bird

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